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OUT," ETC., ETC. + 



1901, BY 

L O T H R O P 






" Determined not to remain poor " 20 

" Saved my Earnings, and Attended strictly to 

Business " 20 

" I always thought I would be a Merchant " . . . . 21 

An Opportunity 21 

A Cash basis 23 

" Every Purchaser must be enabled to feel se- 
cure " 24 

The Turning Point 25 

Qualities that make for Success 27 

A College Education and Business 27 




A Night Worker 30 

The Subject of Success 31 

Perseverance applied to a Practical End 32 

Concentration of Purpose 34 

Young American Geese 36 





Unhelpful Reading 36 

Inventions in America 37 

The Orient 38 

Environment and Heredity 38 

Professor Bell's Life Story 40 

"I will make the World Hear it" 41 




A Face Full of Character 45 

Her Ambitions and Aims 45 

A Most Charming Charity 46 

Her Practical Sympathy for the Less Favored. . 49 

Personal Attention to an Unselfish Service 52 

Her Views upon Education 55 

The Evil of Idleness 56 

Her Patriotism 56 

" Our Helen " 59 

"America" 60 

Unheralded Benefactions 60 

Her Personality 63 



Footing it to California 68 

The Ditch 70 

He enters the Grain Market 71 

Mr. Armour's Acute Perception of the Commer- 
cial Conditions for Building up a Great 

Business 72 




(Continued): PAGE 

System and Good Measure 73 

Methods 74 

The Turning Point 75 

Truth 75 

A Great Orator and a Great Chanty 75 

Ease in His Work 77 

A Business King 78 

Training Youth for Business 79 

Prompt to Act 82 

Foresight 83 

Forearmed against Panic 84 

Some Secrets of Success 85 




Audiences are Appreciative 88 

Lectures to Children 89 

A Lesson in Lecturing 90 

The Stereopticon 91 

" Stories from Starland " 93 

Concentration of Attention 94 



A Long Tramp to School 98 

He Always Supported Himself 100 

The Turning Point of his Life 101 

A Splendid College Record 103 






His Capital at Fourteen 106 

Tower Hall Clothing Store 107 

His Ambition and Power as an Organizer at 

Sixteen 108 

The Y. M. C A 109 

Oak Hall 109 

A Head Built for Business no 

His Relation to Customers in 

The Merchant's Organizing Faculty 113 

Attention to Details 115 

The Most Rigid Economy 115 

Advertising 116 

Seizing Opportunities 117 

Push and Persistence 117 

Balloons 119 

"To what, Mr. Wanamaker, do you Attribute 

your Great Success?" 120 

His Views on Business 121 

Public Service 124 

Invest in Yourself 124 

At Home 126 






Work 139 




Self-Dependence 140 

Thrift 141 

Expensive Habits Smoking 141 

Forming an Independent Business Judgment... 142 
The Multiplication of Opportunities To-day in 

America 142 

Where is One's Best Chance? The Knowledge 

of Men 143 

The Bottom of the Ladder 144 

The Beneficent Use of Capital 145 

Wholesome Discipline of Earning and Spending. 146 
Personal : A Word about Cheap Hotels 146 




The Difficulties 150 

" The World was Mine, if I would Work" 152 

" It put New Fire into me " 154 

" I was Traveling on Air " 156 

In Europe 159 

"Why don't you Sing in Grand Opera?" 161 

This was her Crowning Triumph 162 

She was Indispensable in "Aida" 166 

The Kindness of Frau Wagner 167 

Musical Talent of American Girls 169 

The Price of Fame 170 


HOLD 171 



HOLD (Continued) : PAGE 


A Lofty Ideal 172 

Acquiring a Literary Style 174 

My Workshop 175 

How to Choose Between Words 177 

The Fate following Collaboration 179 

Consul at Venice 180 

My Literary Experience 182 

As to a Happy Life 184 



His Early Dream and Purpose 186 

School Days 188 

A Raft of Hoop Poles 191 

The Odor of Oil 192 

His First Ledger and the Items in it 193 

$10,000 196 

He Remembered the Oil 197 

Keeping his Head 197 

There was Money in a Refinery 198 

Standard Oil 200 

Mr. Rockefeller's Personality 201 

At the Office 202 

Foresight 203 

Hygiene 204 

At Home 205 

Philanthropy 206 

Perseverance 207 

A Genius for Money-Making 207 








"Little Miss Ward" 211 

She was Married to a Reformer 212 

Story of the " Battle Hymn of the Republic". . . 214 

"Eighty Years Young" 215 

The Ideal College 217 



The Library 221 

A Chemical Newsboy 223 

Telegraphy 225 

His Use of Money 227 

Inventions 228 

His Arrival at the Metropolis 233 

Mental Concentration 232 

Twenty Hours a Day 231 

A Run for Breakfast 234 

Not by accident and Not for Fun 235 

"Hike it I hate it" 236 

Doing One Thing Eighteen Hours is the Secret. 237 

Possibilities in the Electrical Field 238 

Only Six Hundred Inventions 238 

His Courtship and his Home 239 







A Boyhood of Wasted Opportunities 242 

His Boyhood Love for History and Literature.. 444 

A Father's Fruitful Warning 245 

A Manhood of Splendid Effort 246 

" The Regularity of the Work was a Splendid 

Drill for me " 247 

Self-Education by Reading and Literary Com- 
position 247 

"The Fair God" 249 

The Origin of " Ben Hur " 250 

Influence of the Story of the Christ upon the 
Author 251 



Early Work and Wages 254 

Colonel Anderson's Books ,. ... 255 

His First Glimpse of Paradise 256 

Introduced to a Broom 258 

An Expert Telegrapher 259 

What Employers Think of Young Men 261 

The Right Men in Demand 262 

How to Attract Attention 263 

Sleeping Car Invention 264 

The Work of a Millionaire 266 

An Oil Farm 267 

Iron Bridges 268 

Homestead Steel Works 269 

A Strengthening Policy 270 

Philanthropy 271 

"The Misfortune of Being Rich Men's Sons".. 273 


' Contents 






"Let the Work Show." 278 

The Voyage of Life 279 

A Mother's Mighty Influence 280 

Self Help 281 

Education 282 

Apprentices 283 

Prepare to Your Utmost: then Do Your Best.. 284 

Present Opportunities 284 

Natural Executive Ability 285 

The Development of Power 286 

" My Mother " 287 

A Boat Builder in Youth 288 

He Would Not be Discouraged 288 

The Sum of it All 289 


What the Herreshoff Brothers have been Doing. 

Racing Jay Gould 291 

The " Stiletto " 293 

The Blind Brother 296 

Personality of, John B. Herreshoff 297 

Has he a Sixth Sense ? 299 

Seeing with His Fingers 300 

Brother Nat 301 



FIFTY 304 



FIFTY (Continued) : PAGE 


Value of Biblical and Imaginative Literature... 305 

Renunciation 306 

Delightful Studies 307 

Fifteen Hours a Day 308 

An Accident 309 

Vocation 310 

Words of Counsel 310 




" I was Not an Infant Prodigy " 315 

Beginning of the Orchestra 316 

Music had No Hold on the Masses 320 

Working Out His Idea 323 

The Chief Element of his Success 326 








LECT 357 

Thrown on His Own Resources 357 

Why he Longed to be a Baker 359 

Persistence 361 

Twenty Years of Rejected Manuscripts 362 

A College Education 364 

Riley's Popularity 365 


THE GREAT INTEREST manifested in the life- 
stories of successful men and women, which have been 
published from time to time in the magazine SUCCESS, has 
actuated their production in book form. Many of these 
sketches have been revised and rewritten, and new ones 
have been added. They all contain the elements that 
make men and women successful ; and they are intended 
to show that character, energy, and an indomitable am- 
bition will succeed in the world, and that in this land, 
where all men are born equal and have an equal chance 
in life, there is no reason for despair. I believe that the 
ideal book for youth should deal with concrete examples ; 
for that which is taken from real life is far more effective 
than that which is culled from fancy. Character-building, 
its uplifting, energizing force, has been made the basic 
principle of this work. 

To all who have aided me I express a grateful ac- 
knowledgment ; and to none more than to those whose life- 
stories are here related as a lesson to young people. Among 
those who have given me special assistance in securing those 
life-stories are, Mr. Harry Steele Morrison, Mr. J. Herbert 
Welch, Mr. Charles H. Garrett, Mr. Henry Irving Dodge, 
and Mr. Jesse W. Weik. I am confident that the remark- 
able exhibit of successful careers made in this book 
careers based on sound business principles and honesty 
will meet with appreciation on the part of the reading 

I flff 


THIS world-renowned merchant is not 
easily accessible to interviews, and he 
seeks no fame for his business achieve- 
ments. Yet, there is no story more significant, 
none more full of encouragement and inspira- 
tion for youth. 

In relating it, as he told it, I have removed 
my own interrogations, so far as possible, from 
the interview. 

" I was born in Conway, Massachusetts," he 
said, " in 1835. My father's farm was among 
the rocks and hills of that section, and not very 
fertile. All the people were poor in those days. 
My father was a man who had good judgment, 
and he made a success out of the farming busi- 
ness. My mother was of a more intellectual 
bent. Both my parents were anxious that their 
boys should amount to something in life, and 
their interest and care helped me. 

How They Succeeded 

" I had but few books, scarcely any to speak 
of. There was not much time for literature. 
Such books as we had, I made use of. 

" I had a leaning toward business, and took 
up with it as early as possible. I was naturally 
of a saving disposition: I had to be. Those 
were saving times. A dollar looked very big 
to us boys in those days; and as we had diffi- 
cult labor in earning it, we did not quickly 
spend it. I however, 

" Did you attend both school and college ? " 
" I attended the common and high schools 
at home, but not long. I had no college train- 
ing. Indeed, I cannot say that I had much of 
any public school education. I left home when 
seventeen years of age, and of course had not 
time to study closely. 

" My first venture in trade was made as 
clerk in a country store at Pittsfield, Massachu- 
setts, where everything was sold, including dry- 
goods. There I remained for four years, and 
picked up my first knowledge of business. I 


and so made those four years valuable to me. 


Marshall Field 

Before I went West, my employer offered me 
a quarter interest in his business if I would re- 
main with him. Even after I had been here 
several years, he wrote and offered me a third 
interest if I would go back. 

" But I was already too well placed. I was 
always interested in the commercial side of life. 
To this I bent my energies; and 


" In Chicago, I entered as a clerk in the dry- 
goods house of Cooley, Woodsworth & Co., in 
South Water street. There was no guarantee 
at that time that this place would ever become 
the western metropolis ; the town had plenty of 
ambition and pluck, but the possibilities of 
greatness were hardly visible." 

It is interesting to note in this connection 
how closely the story of Mr. Field's progress 
is connected with Chicago's marvelous growth. 
The city itself in its relations to the West, was 


A parallel, almost exact, may be drawn be- 
tween the individual career and the growth of 
the town. Chicago was organized in 1837, two 
years after Mr. Field was born on the far-off 
farm in New England, and the place then had 


How They Succeeded 

a population of a little more than four thou- 
sand. In 1856, when Mr. Field, fully equipped 
for a successful mercantile career, became a 
resident of the future metropolis of the West, 
the population had grown to little more than 
eighty-four thousand. Mr. Field's prosperity 
advanced with the growth of the city; with 
Chicago he was stricken but not crushed by the 
great fire of 1871; and with Chicago he ad- 
vanced again to higher achievement and far 
greater prosperity than before the calamity. 

" What were your equipments for success 
when you started as a clerk here in Chicago, 
in 1856?" 

" Health and ambition, and what I believe to 
be sound principles ; " answered Mr. Field. 
" And here I found tha,t in a growing town, no 
one had to wait for promotion. Good busi- 
ness qualities were promptly discovered, and 
men were pushed forward rapidly. 

" After four years, in 1860, I was made a 
partner, and in 1865, there was a partial reor- 
ganization, and the firm consisted after that of 
Mr. Leiter, Mr. Palmer and myself (Field, 
Palmer, and Leiter). Two years later Mr. 
Palmer withdrew, and until 1881, the style of 
the firm was Field, Leiter & Co. Mr. Leiter 


Marshal] Field 

retired in that year, and since then it has been 
as at present (Marshall Field & Co.)." 

" What contributed most to the great growth 
of your business ? " I asked. 

" To answer that question," said Mr. Field, 
" would be to review the condition of the West 
from the time Chicago began until the fire in 
1871. Everything was coming this way; im- 
migration, railways and water traffic, and Chi- 
cago was enjoying ' flush ' times. 

" There were things to learn about the coun- 
try, and the man who learned the quickest fared 
the best. For instance, the comparative newness 
of rural communities and settlements made a 
knowledge of local solvency impossible. The 
old State banking system prevailed, and specu- 
lation of every kind was rampant. 


"The panic of 1857 swept almost every- 
thing away except the house I worked for, and 
I learned that the reason they survived was 
because they understood the nature of the new 
country, and did a cash business. That is, they 
bought for cash, and sold on thirty and sixty 
days; instead of giving the customers, whose 
financial condition you could hardly tell any- 

How They Succeeded 

thing about, all the time they wanted. When 
the panic came, they had no debts, and little 
owing to them, and so they weathered it all 
right. / learned what I consider my best lesson, 
and that was to do a cash business. " 

" What were some of the principles you ap- 
plied to your business? " I questioned. 

" / made it a point that all goods should be 
exactly what they were represented to be. It 
was a rule of the house that an exact scrutiny 
of the quality of all goods purchased should 
be maintained, and that nothing was to induce 
the house to place upon the market any line of 
goods at a shade of variation from their real 
value. Every article sold must be regarded as 
warranted, and 


" Did you suffer any losses or reverses dur- 
ing your career ? " 

" No loss except by the fire of 1871. It 
swept away everything, about three and a 
half millions. We were, of course, protected 
by insurance, which would have been sufficient 
against any ordinary calamity of the kind. But 
the disaster was so sweeping that some of the 


Marshall Field 

companies which had insured our property were 
blotted out, and a long time passed before our 
claims against others were settled. We man- 
aged, however, to start again. There were no 
buildings of brick or stone left standing, but 
there were some great shells of horse-car barns 
at State and Twentieth streets which were not 
burned, and I hired those. We put up signs 
announcing that we would continue business 
uninterruptedly, and then rushed the work of 
fitting things up and getting in the stock." 

" Did the panic of 1873 affect your busi- 

" Not at all. We did not have any debts. " 
" May I ask, Mr. Fidds, what you consider 
to have been 


in your career, the point after which there 
was no more danger ? " 

" Saving the first five thousand dollars I ever 
had, when I might just as well have spent 
the moderate salary I made. Possession of that 
sum, once I had it, gave me the ability to meet 
opportunities. That I consider the turning- 
point. " 

" What trait of character do you look upon 


How They Succeeded 

as having been the most essential in your 
career ? " 

"Perseverance'' said Mr. Field. But Mr. 
Selfridge, his most trusted lieutenant, in whose 
private office we were, insisted upon the addi- 
tion of " good judgment " to this. 

" If I am compelled to lay claim to such 
traits, " added Mr. Fields, " it is because I have 
tried to practise them, and the trying has availed 
me much. I have tried to make all my acts 
and commercial moves the result of definite 
consideration and sound judgment. There wert 
never any great ventures or risks. I practised 
honest, slow-growing business methods, and 
tried to back them with energy and good 
system. " 

At this point, in answer to further questions, 
Mr. Field disclaimed having overworked in his 
business, although after the fire of '71 he 
worked about eighteen hours a day for several 
weeks : 

" My fortune, however, has not been made 
in that manner. I believe in reasonable hours, 
but close attention during those hours. I never 
worked very many hours a day. People do not 
work as many hours now as they once did. 


Marshall Field 

The day's labor has shortened in the last 
twenty years for everyone." 


" What, Mr. Field, " I said, " do you co'n- 
sider to be the first requisite for success in life, 
so far as the young beginner is concerned ? " 

" The qualities of honesty, energy, frugality, 
integrity, are more necessary than ever to-day, 
and there is no success without them. They are 
so often urged that they have become common- 
place, but they are really more prized than 
ever. And any good fortune that comes by 
such methods is deserved and admirable. " 


" Do you believe a college education for the 
young man to be a necessity in the future? " 

" Not for business purposes. Better training 
will become more and more a necessity. The 
truth is, with most young men, a college edu- 
cation means that just at the time when they 
should be having business principles instilled 
into them, and be getting themselves energeti- 
cally pulled together for their life's work, they 
are sent to college. Then intervenes what many 


How They Succeeded 

a young man looks back on as the jolliest time 
of his life, four years of college. Often 
when he comes out of college the young man is 
unfitted by this good time tobuckle downtohard 
work, and the result is a failure to grasp op- 
portunities that would have opened the way for 
a successful career." 

As to retiring from business, Mr. Field re- 
marked : 

" I do not believe that, when a man no longer 
attends to his private business in person every 
day, he has given up interest in affairs. He 
may be, in fact should be, doing wider and 
greater work. There certainly is no pleasure 
in idleness. A man, upon giving up business, 
does not cease laboring, but really does or 
should do more in a larger sense. He should 
interest himself in public affairs. There is no 
happiness in mere dollars. After they are ac- 
quired, one can use but a moderate amount. It 
is given a man to eat so much, to wear so much, 
and to have so much shelter, and more he can- 
not use. When money has supplied these, its 
mission, so far as the individual is concerned, 
is fulfilled, and man must look further and 
higher. It is only in the wider public affairs, 
where money is a moving force toward the 


Marshall Field 

general welfare, that the possessor of it can 
possibly find pleasure, and that only in con- 
stantly doing more. " 

" What, " I said, " in your estimation, is the 
greatest good a man can do ? " 

* The greatest good he can do is to cultivate 
himself, develop his powers, in order that he 
may be of greater use to humanity. " 

li ii 



EXTREMELY polite, always anxious to 
render courtesy, no one carries great 
success more gracefully than Alex- 
ander G. Bell, the inventor of the telephone. 
His graciousness has won many a friend, the 
admiration of many more, and has smoothed 
many a rugged spot in life. 


When I first went to see him, it was about 
eleven o'clock in the morning, and he was in 
bed! The second time, I thought I would go 
somewhat later, at one o'clock in the after- 
noon. He was eating his breakfast, I was told ; 
and I had to wait some time. He came in 
apologizing profusely for keeping me waiting. 
When I told him I had come to interview him, 


Bell Telephone Talk 

in behalf of young people, about success its 
underlying principles, he threw back his large 
head and laughingly said: 

* Nothing succeeds like success/ Success 
did you say? Why, that is a big subject, 
too big a one. You must give me time to think 
about it; and you having planted the seed in my 
brain, will have to wait for me. " 

When I asked what time I should call, he 
said : " Come any time, if it is only late. I 
begin my work at about nine or ten o'clock in 
the evening, and continue until four or five in 
the morning. Night is a more quiet time to 
work. It aids thought. " 

So, when I went to see him again, I made it 
a point to be late. He cordially invited me into 
his studio, where, as we both sat on a large 
and comfortable sofa, he talked long on 


The value of this article would be greatly 
enhanced, if I could add his charming manner 
of emphasizing what he says, with hands, head, 
and eyes; and if I could add his beautiful dis- 
tinctness of speech, due, a great deal, to his 
having given instruction to deaf mutes, who 
must read the lips. 

3 1 


How They Succeeded 

" What do you think are the factors of suc- 
cess? " I asked. The reply was prompt and to 
the point. 


" Perseverance is the chief; but persever- 
ance must have some practical end, or it does 
not avail the man possessing it. A person 
without a practical end in view becomes a 
crank or an idiot. Such persons fill our insane 
asylums. The same perseverance that they 
show in some idiotic idea, if exercised in the 
accomplishment of somethingpracticable, would 
no doubt bring success. Perseverance is first, 
but practicability is chief. The success of the 
Americans as a nation is due to their great 
practicability. " 

" But often what the world calls nonsensical, 
becomes practical, does it not? You were 
called crazy, too, once, were you not ? " 

" There are some things, though, that are 
always impracticable. Now, take, for instance, 
this idea of perpetual motion. Scientists have 
proved that it is impossible. Yet our patent 
office is continually beset by people applying for 
inventions on some perpetual motion machine. 
So the department has adopted a rule whereby 

3 2 

Bell Telephone Talk 

a working model is always required of such 
applicants. They cannot furnish one. The im- 
possible is incapable of success. " 

" I have heard of people dreaming inven- 
tions. " 

" That is not at all impossible. I am a be- 
liever in unconscious cerebration. The brain 
is working all the time, though we do not know 
it. At night, it follows up what we think in 
the daytime. When I have worked a long time 
on one thing, I make it a point to bring all the 
facts regarding it together before I retire; and 
I have often been surprised at the results. Have 
you not noticed that, often, what was dark and 
perplexing to you the night before, is found to 
be perfectly solved the next morning? We are 
thinking all the time; it is impossible not to 
think. " 

" Can everyone become an inventor? " 

" Oh, no; not all minds are constituted alike. 
Some minds are only adapted to certain things. 
But as one's mind grows, and one's knowledge 
of the world's industries widens, it adapts itself 
to such things as naturally fall to it. " 

Upon my asking the relation of health to suc- 
cess, the professor replied : 

" I believe it to be a primary principle of sue- 


How They Succeeded 

cess; ' mens sana in corpora sano/ a sound 
mind in a sound body. The mind in a weak 
body produces weak ideas ; a strong body gives 
strength to the thought of the mind. Ill health 
is due to man's artificiality of living. He lives 
indoors. He becomes, as it were, a hothouse 
plant. Such a plant is never as successful as a 
hardy garden plant is. An outdoor life is nec- 
essary to health and success, especially in a 
youth. " 

" But is not hard study often necessary to 
success ? " 

" No ; decidedly not. You cannot force ideas. 
Successful ideas are the result of 3low growth. 
Ideas do not reach perfection in a day, no 
matter how much study is put upon them. It is 
perseverance in the pursuit of studies that is 
really wanted. 


" Next must come concentration of purpose 
and study. That is another thing I mean to 
emphasize. Concentrate all your thought upon 
the work in hand. The sun's rays do not burn 
until brought to a focus. 

" I am now thinking about flying machines. 
Everything in regard to them, I pick out and 


Bell Telephone Talk 

read. When I see a bird flying in the air, I 
note its manner of flight, as I would not if I 
were not constantly thinking about artificial 
flight, and concentrating all my thought and 
observation upon it. It is like a man who has 
made the acquaintance of some new word that 
has been brought forcibly to his notice, although 
he may have come across it many times before, 
and not have noticed it particularly. 

" Man is the result of slow growth; that is 
why he occupies the position he does in animal 
life. What does a pup amount to that has 
gained its growth in a few days or weeks, beside 
a man who only attains it in as many years. A 
horse is often a grandfather before a boy has 
attained his full maturity. The most successful 
men in the end are those whose success is the 
result of steady accretion. That intellectuality 
is more vigorous that has attained its strength 
gradually. It is the man who carefully ad- 
vances step by step, with his mind becoming 
wider and wider, and progressively better 
able to grasp any theme or situation, per- 
severing in what he knows to be practical, and V 
concentrating his thought upon it, who is bound 
to succeed in the greatest degree. 


How They Succeeded 


" If a man is not bound down, he is sure to 
succeed. He may be bound down by environ- 
ment, or by doting parental petting. In Paris, 
they fatten geese to create a diseased condition 
of the liver. A man stands with a box of very 
finely prepared and very rich food beside a re- 
volving stand, and, as it revolves, one goose 
after another passes before him. Taking the 
first goose by the neck, he clamps down its 
throat a large lump of the food, whether the 
goose will or no, until its crop is well stuffed 
out, and then he proceeds with the rest in the 
same very mechanical manner. Now, I think, 
if those geese had to work hard for their own 
food, they would digest it better, and be far 
healthier geese. How many young American 
geese are stuffed in about the same manner at 
college and at home, by their rich and fond 
parents ! " 


" Did everything you ever studied help you 
to attain success ? " 

" On the contrary, I did not begin real study 
until I was over sixteen. Until that time, my 
principal study was reading novels." He 


Bell Telephone Talk 

laughed heartily at my evident astonishment. 
" They did not help me in the least, for they 
did not give me an insight into real life. It 
is only those things that give one a grasp of 
practical affairs that are helpful. To read 
novels continuously is like reading fairy stories 
or " Arabian Nights " tales. It is a butterfly 
existence, so long as it lasts; but, some day, one 
is called to stern reality, unprepared. " 


" You have had experience in life in Europe 
and in America. Do you think the chances for 
success are the same in Europe as in 
America ? " 

" It is harder to attain success in Europe. 
There is hardly the same appreciation of prog- 
ress there is here. Appreciation is an element 
of success. Encouragement is needed. My 
thoughts run mostly toward inventions. In 
England, people are conservative. They are 
well contented with the old, and do not readily 
adopt new ideas. Americans more quickly ap- 
preciate new inventions. Take an invention to 
an Englishman or a Scot, and he will ask you 
all about it, and then say your invention may 
be all right, but let somebody else try it first. 


How They Succeeded 

Take the same invention to an American, and 
if it is intelligently explained, he is generally 
quick to see the feasibility of it. America is 
an inspiration to inventors. It is quicker to 
adopt advanced ideas than England or Europe. 
The most valuable inventions of this century 
have been made in America." 


" Do you think there is a chance for Ameri- 
cans in the Orient ? " 

" There is only a chance for capital in trade. 
American labor cannot compete with Japanese 
and Chinese. A Japanese coolie, for the 
hardest kind of work, receives the equivalent of 
six cents a day; and the whole family, father, 
mother and children, work and contribute to 
the common good. A foreigner is only made 
use of until they have absorbed all his useful 
ideas; then he is avoided. The Japanese are 
ahead of us in many things. " 


" Do you think environment and heredity 
count in success ? " 

" Environment, certainly ; heredity, not so 
distinctly. In heredity, a man may stamp out 


Bell Telephone Talk 

the faults he has inherited. There is no chance 
for the proper working of heredity. If selec- 
tion could be carried out, a man might owe 
much to heredity. But as it is, only opposites 
marry. Blonde and light-complexioned people 
marry brunettes, and the tall marry the short. 
In our scientific societies, men only are ad- 
mitted. If women who were interested espe- 
cially in any science were allowed to affiliate 
with the men in these societies, we might hope 
to see some wonderful workings of the laws of 
heredity. A man, as a general rule, owes very 
little to what he is born with. A man is what 
he makes of himself. 

" Environment counts for a great deal. A 
man's particular idea may have no chance for 
growth or encouragement in his community. 
Real success is denied that man, until he finds 
a proper environment. 

America is a good environment for young 
men. It breathes the very spirit of success. I 
noticed at once, when I first came to this 
country, how the people were all striving for 
success, and helping others to attain success. It 
is an inspiration you cannot help feeling. 


How They Succeeded 


Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edin- 
burgh, Scotland, March 3, 1847. His father, 
Alexander Melville Bell, now in Washington, 
D. C, was a distinguished Scottish educator, 
and the inventor of a system of " visible 
speech, " which he has successfully taught to 
deaf-mutes. His grandfather, Alexander Bell, 
became well known by the invention of a 
method of removing impediments of speech. 

The younger Bell received his education at 
the Edinburgh High School and University; 
and, in 1867, he entered the University of Lon- 
don. Then, in his twenty-third year, his health 
failing from over-study, he came with his father 
to Canada, as he expressed it, " to die. " Later, 
he settled in the United States, becoming first a 
teacher of deaf-mutes, and subsequently pro- 
fessor of vocal physiology in Boston University. 
In 1867, he first began to study the problem of 
conveying articulate sound by electric currents; 
which he pursued during his leisure time. 
After nine long years of research and experi- 
ment, he completed the first telephone, early in 
1876, when it was exhibited at the Centennial 
Exposition, and pronounced the " wonder of 

Bell Telephone Talk 

wonders in electric telegraphy. " This was the 
judgment of scientific men who were in a posi- 
tion to judge, and not of the world at large. 
People regarded it only as a novelty, as a curi- 
ous scientific toy; and most business men 
doubted that it would ever prove a useful factor 
in the daily life of the world, and the untold 
blessing to mankind it has since become. All 
this skepticism he had to overcome. " A new 
art was to be taught to the world, a new in- 
dustry created, business and social methods 

" It does speak/' cried Sir William Thomp- 
son, with fervid enthusiasm; and Bell's father- 
in-law added : " I will make the world hear it. " 
In less than a quarter of a century, it is convey- 
ing thought in every civilized tongue; Japan 
being the first country outside of the United 
States to adopt it. In the first eight years of 
its existence, the Bell Telephone Company de- 
clared dividends to the extent of $4,000,000; 
.and the great sums of money the company earns 
for its stockholders is a subject of current com- 
ment and wonder. Some fierce contests have 
been waged over the priority of his invention, 


How They Succeeded 

but Mr. Bell has been triumphant in every 

He has become very wealthy from his inven- 
tion. He has a beautiful winter residence in 
Washington; fitted up with a laboratory, and 
all sorts of electrical conveniences mostly of his 
own invention. His summer residence is at 
Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

His wife, Mabel, the daughter of the late 
Gardiner G. Hubbard, is a deaf-mute, of whose 
education he had charge when she was a child. 

Mr. Bell, with one of his beautiful daughters, 
recently made a visit to Japan. The Order of 
the Rising Star, the highest order in the gift 
of the Japanese Emperor, was bestowed upon 
him. He is greatly impressed by the character 
of the people; believing them capable of much 
greater advancement. 

Mr. Bell is the inventor of the photophone, 
aiming to transmit speech by a vibratory beam 
of light. He has given much time and study 
to problems of multiplex telegraphy, and to 
efforts to record speech by photographing the 
vibrations of a jet of water. 

Few inventors have derived as much satis- 
faction and happiness from their achievements 
as Mr. Bell. In this respect, his success has 


Bell Telephone Talk 

been ideal, and in impressive contrast with the 
experience of Charles Goodyear, the man who 
made india-rubber useful, and of some other 
well-known inventors, whose services to man- 
kind brought no substantial reward to them- 

Mr. Bell is in nowise spoiled by his good for- 
tune; but is the same unpretending person to- 
day, that he was before the telephone made him 
wealthy and famous. 


11 HI , P: if! '^ 

Why the American People Like 
Helen Gould 

place for herself in the hearts of 
Americans such as few people of 
great wealth ever gain. Her strong character, 
commonsense, and high ideals, have made her 
respected by all, while her munificence and 
kindness have won for her the love of many. 

Upon my arrival at her Tarrytown home, I 
was made to feel that I was welcome, and every- 
one who enters her presence feels the same. 
The grand mansion, standing high on the hills 
overlooking the Hudson, has a home-like ap- 
pearance. Chickens play around the little stone 
cottage at the grand entrance, and the grounds 
are not unlike those of any other country house, 
with trees in abundance, and beautiful lawns. 
There are large beds of flowers, and in the 
gardens all the summer vegetables were grow- 


Miss Helen Gould 

Miss Gould takes a very great interest in her 
famous greenhouses, the gardens, the flowers, 
and the chickens, for she is a home-loving 
woman. It is a common thing to see her in the 
grounds, digging and raking and planting, like 
some farmer's girl. That is one reason why her 
neighbors all like her ; she seems so unconscious 
of her wealth and station. 


When I entered Lyndhurst, she came for- 
ward to meet me in the pleasantest way imagin- 
able. Her face is not exactly beautiful, but has 
a great deal of character written upon it, and it 
is very attractive. She held out her hand for 
me to shake in the good old-fashioned way, and 
then we sat down in the wide hall to talk. Miss 
Gould was dressed very simply. Her gown 
was of dark cloth, close-fitting, and her skirt 
hung several inches above the ground, for she is 
a believer in short skirts for walking. Her en- 
tire costume was very becoming. She never 
over-dresses, and her garments are neat, and 
naturally of excellent quality. 


In the conversation that followed, I was per- 
mitted to learn much of her ambitions and 


Kow They Succeeded 

aims. She is ambitious to leave an impression 
on the world by good deeds well done, and this 
ambition is gratified to the utmost. She is 
modest about her work. 

" I cannot find that I am doing much at all, " 
she said, " when there is so very much to be 
done. I suppose I shouldn't expect to be able 
to do everything, but I sometimes feel that I 
want to, nevertheless. " 


One of her most charming charities is 
" Woody Crest, " two miles from Lyndhurst, 
a haven of delight where some twoscore waifs 
are received at a time for a two weeks' visit. 

Years before Miss Gould's name became as- 
sociated throughout the country with charity, 
she was doing her part in trying to make a 
world happier. Every summer she was hostess 
to scores of poor children, who were guests at 
one of the two Gould summer homes; little 
people with pinched, wan faces, and crippled 
children from the tenements, were taken to that 
home and entertained. They came in relays, a 
new company arriving once in two weeks, the 
number of children thus given a taste of heaven 
on earth being limited only by the capacity of 

4 6 

Miss Helen Gould 

the Gould residence. This was her first, and, I 
am told, her favorite charity. 

Little children do things naturally. It was 
when a child that Helen Gould commenced the 
work that has given her name a sacred signifi- 
cance. When a little girl, she could see the less 
fortunate little girls passing the great Gould 
home on Fifth avenue, and she pitied them and 
loved them, and from her own allowance ad- 
ministered to their comfort. 

" My father always encouraged me in chari- 
table work/' she writes a friend. How much 
the American people owe to that encourage- 
ment. A frown from that father, idolized as 
he was by his daughter, would have frosted and 
killed that budding philanthropy which has made 
a great fortune a fountain of joy, and carried 
sunshine into many lives. 

" Woody Crest " is a sylvan paradise, a nobly 
wooded hill towering above the sumptuous 
green of Westchester, a place with wild flowers 
and winding drives, and at its crest a solid 
mansion built of the native rock. One can look 
out from its luxuriant lawns to the majestic 
Hudson, or turn aside into the shadiest of nooks 
among the trees. What a place for the restful 
breezes to fan the tired brows from the tene- 


How They Succeeded 

ments. Do the little folks enjoy it ? Ask them, 
and their eyes will sparkle with gladness for 
answer. Ask those, too, who are awaiting their 
turn in hot New York, and watch the eagerness 
of their anticipation. For two long and happy 
weeks they become as joyous as mortals are ever 
permitted to be. 

Miss Gould has a personal oversight of the 
place, and, by her frequent visits, makes friends 
with the wee visitors, who look upon her as a 
combination of angel and fairy godmother. 
Every day, a wagonette drawn by two horses 
takes the children, in relays, for long drives into 
the country. Amusements are provided, and 
some of those who remain for an entire season 
at Woody Crest are instructed in different 
branches. Twice a month some of the older 
boys set the type for a little magazine which is 
devoted to Woody Crest matters. There are 
several portable cottages erected there, one for 
the sick, one for servants' sleeping rooms, and 
a third for a laundry. 

And the munificent hostess of these children 
of the needy gets her reward in eyes made 
bright, in cheeks made ruddy, in the " God 
bless you, " that falls from the lips of grateful 

4 8 

Miss Helen Gould 

All winter long, instead of closing " Woody 
Crest " and waiting for the summer sunshine 
to bring about a return of her charitable op- 
portunities, Miss Gould has kept the place run- 
ning at full expense. During the winter she 
herself occupies her town residence. Ordi- 
narily she would not keep " Woody Crest " 
open longer than Thanksgiving Day, but in the 
past winter fifteen small boys were entertained 
for six months. Six of these were cripples, and 
nine were sound of limb. Though it required 
many servants, I am told that the little guests 
were given as much consideration as the same 
number of grown people would have received. 
They had nurses and physicians for those who 
needed them, governesses and instructors for 
those who were well. 


When, one day, I was privileged to meet Miss 
Gould at Woody Crest, I saw a hundred chil- 
dren scattered around the lawn in front of the 
stately mansion. It had been an afternoon of 
labor and anxiety on her part, for she felt the 
responsibility of entertaining and caring for so 
many little ones. As she finally cooled herself 


How They Succeeded 

on the piazza and looked at her little charges 
romping around on the lawn, I asked her if she 
thought any of the little ones before her would 
ever make their mark in the world. 

" That's hard to say, " she replied, after a 
moment's hesitation, " but no one can tell what 
may be in children until they have grown up 
and developed. But the hardest thing to me 
is to see genius struggling under obstacles and 
in surroundings that would discourage almost 
anybody. I do not see, for my part, how any 
child from the poorest tenements could ever 
grow up and develop into strong, successful 
men or women. Many of them, of course, have 
no gifts or endowments to do this, but even if 
they had, the surroundings are enough to stifle 
every spark of ambition in them. It is a 
mystery to me how they can preserve such 
bright and eager faces. What would we do 
if we were brought up in such environments! 
I know I should never be able to survive it, and 
would never succeed in rising above my sur- 
roundings. And it is harder on the girls than 
the boys ! The boys can go forth into the world 
and probably secure a position which in time 
will bring them different companionship and 
surroundings; but the poor girls have so few 


Miss Helen Gould 

opportunities. They must drudge and drag 
along for the bare necessities of life. My heart 
aches sometimes for them, and I wish I had the 
power to lighten the burdens of everyone. " 

" The hardest thing, I suppose, is to see real 
ability righting against odds, with no one to 
help and encourage ? " 

" Yes, that seems the worst, and I think we 
all ought to make it possible for such ones to 
get a little encouragement and help. When a 
boy is deserving of credit it should be given 
unstintedly. It goes a long way toward making 
him more hopeful for the future. We don't 
as a rule receive enough encouragement in this 
world. Certainly not the poor. Everybody 
seems so busy and intent upon making his own 
way in the world that he forgets to drop a word 
of cheer for those who have not been so fortu- 
nate by birth or surroundings." 1 

For a number of years, Miss Gould has sup- 
ported certain beds in the Babies' Shelter, in 
connection with the Church of the Holy Com- 
munion, New York, and the Wayside Day 
Nursery, near Bellevue Hospital, has always 

1 NOTE. For four paragraphs preceding I am in- 
debted to GEORGE ETHELBERT WALSH, whose interview 
was published in the Boston Transcript, Oct. 12, 1900. 

5 1 

How They Succeeded 

found in her a good friend. Once a year she 
makes a tour through the day nurseries of New 
York, noting the special needs of each, and 
often sending money or materials for meeting 
those needs. 


Her charities, says Mr. Walsh, in the article 
above cited, are probably the most practical on 
record. She does not go " slumming, " as so 
many fashionable girls do, but she does go and 
investigate personal charities herself and apply 
the medicine as she thinks best. She puts her- 
self out in more ways to relieve distress around 
than she would to accommodate her wealthiest 
friend. Not only has she always pitied the suf- 
ferers in the world less fortunate than herself, 
but she has always had a great desire to help 
those struggling for a living in practical ways 
to get along. It is this side of her noble work 
that stands out most conspicuously to-day. The 
public realizes for the first time that this young 
woman, who first came into actual fame at the 
time of our war with Spain, has been support- 
ing and encouraging young people in different 
parts of the country for years past. These pro- 

5 2 

Miss Helen Gould 

teges are all worthy of her patronage, and they 
have been sought out by her. Not one has ever 
approached Miss Gould for help, and in fact 
such an introduction would undoubtedly operate 
against her inclination to help them. She has 
discovered them; and then through considerable 
tact and discretion obtained from them their 
ambitious desires and hopes. Through equally 
good tact and sense she has then placed them in 
positions where they could work out their own 
destinies without feeling that they were accept- 
ing charity. This is distinctly what Miss Gould 
wishes to avoid in helping her little proteges. 
She does not offer them charity or do anything 
to make them dependent upon her if it can be 
helped. By her money and influence she ob- 
tains for them positions which will give them 
every chance in the world to rise and develop 
talents which she thinks she has discovered in 

Some of her proteges, continues Mr. Walsh, 
have been sent away to schools and colleges. 
One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to 
offer a scholarship in some institution and then 
place her young protege in such a position that 
he or she can win it, and in this way have four 
years of tuition free. Fully a dozen different 


How They Succeeded 

scholars are now enjoying the benefits of Miss 
Gould's kindness in this and other respects. 
Four others have been enabled to attend art 
schools, and two are studying music under the 
best teachers through the instrumentality of 
this young woman. Two of these scholars were 
literally rescued from the tenement dregs of 
New York, and they showed such aptitude for 
study and work that Miss Gould undertook to 
give them a fair start in the world. Unusual 
aptitude, brightness, or kindness on the part of 
children always attract Miss Gould, and she has 
become the patron saint of more than a hun- 
dred. When her name is mentioned they show 
their interest and concern, not by looks of awe 
and fear but of eagerness and happiness. Those 
of their number who have been lifted from their 
low estate and put in high positions to carve out 
a life of success through their common patron 
saint, bring back stories of her kindness and 
consideration that make the children look upon 
her as they would the Madonna. But she is a 
youthful Madonna, and the very idea of posing 
as such, even before the poor and ignorant of 
her little friends, would amuse her. Neverthe- 
less, that is the nearest that one can inter- 
pret their ideas concerning her. 


Miss Helen Gould 

Miss Gould's beneficiaries have been some- 
times aided in obtaining the most advanced 
schooling in the land; and she visits with equal 
interest the industrial classes of Berea and the 
favored students of the College Beautiful. 


Miss Gould is well educated, and a graduate 
of a law school. I tried to ascertain her views 
regarding the education of young women of to- 
day, and what careers they should follow. This 
is one of her particular hobbies, and many are 
the young girls she has helped to attain to a 
better and more satisfactory life. 

" I believe most earnestly in education for 
women," she said ; " not necessarily the higher 
education about which we hear so much, but a 
good, common-school education. As the years 
pass, girls are obliged to make their own way in 
the world more and more; and to do so, they 
must have good schooling." 

" And what particular career do you think 
most desirable for young women ? " 

" Oh, as to careers, there are many that 
young women follow, nowadays. I think, if I 
had my own way to make, I should fit myself 
to be a private secretary. That is a position 


How They Succeeded 

which attracts nearly every young woman; but, 
to fill it, she must study hard and learn, and 
then work hard to keep the place. Then there 
are openings for young women in the fields of 
legitimate business. Women know as much 
about money affairs as men, only most of them 
have not had much experience. In that field, 
there are hundreds of things that a woman can 


" But I don't think it matters much what a 
girl does so long as she is active, and doesn't 
allow herself to stagnate. There's nothing, to 
my mind, so pathetic as a girl who thinks she 
can't do anything, and is of no use to the 
world. " 


The late Admiral Philip, he of the " Texas " 
in the Santiago fight, regarded Miss Gould as an 
angel, and the sailors of the Brooklyn navy yard 
fairly worship her. A hustling Y. M. C. A. 
chap, Frank Smith by name, started a little 
club-house for " Jack Ashore, " near the Brook- 
lyn navy yard. Miss Gould heard of this club, 
and visited it. At a glance she grasped the 
meaning, and, on her return home she wrote a 


Miss Helen Gould 

letter and a check for fifty thousand dollars, and 
there sprang from that letter and check, a hand-- 
some building in which there are sixty beds, a 
library, a pipe organ, a smoking-room, and a 
restaurant. Do you wonder that the " Jackies " 
adore her, and that the gale that sweeps over 
the ship out in the open sea is often freighted 
with the melody of her name? 

" When I visited Cuba and Porto Rico," says 
Congressman Charles B. Landis, of Indiana, 
to whom I am greatly indebted in preparing 
this article, " I talked with officers and pri- 
vates everywhere along the journey, visited 
camps and hospitals in cities and isolated towns, 
and everywhere it seemed that the sickness and 
suffering and heart yearning of the American 
soldier had been anticipated by Helen Gould. 
Voices that quivered and eyes that moistened at 
the mention of the name of this young American 
girl were one continuous tribute to her heart 
and work. She cannot fully- realize how far- 
reaching have been her efforts." 

A business man looks for results. What im- 
pressed me most with Miss Gould's work was 
the visible, tangible results. Every dollar spent 
by her seemed to go, straight as a cannon-ball, 
to some mark. Miss Gould has a business head, 


How They Succeeded 

and is not hysterical in her work. She gives, 
but follows the gift and sees that it goes to the 
spot. She has studied results and knows which 
charity pays a premium in smiles, and tears, 
and joy, and better life, and very little of her 
money will be wasted in impracticable schemes. 
She has a happy faculty of getting in actual 
touch with conditions, realizing that she cannot 
hit an object near at hand by aiming at a star. 

Miss Gould's practical business sense was 
beautifully exemplified at Montauk Point. 
Hundreds of soldiers from the hospitals in Cuba 
and Porto Rico were suddenly unloaded there. 
Elsewhere were government supplies tents 
and cots and rations, but there the sick 
soldiers were without shelter, were hungry, had 
no medicine, and were sleeping on the ground. 

Why? Because of red tape. This young 
lady appeared in person and amazed the strut- 
ters in shoulder-straps and the slaves to disci- 
pline by having the sick soldier boys made com- 
fortable on army cots, placed in army tents, and 
fed on army rations, and this, too, without 
any " requisition. " She grasped a situation, 
cut the ropes of theory and introduced practice. 
From her own purse she provided nurses and 
dainties, and bundled up scores of soldier boys 


Miss Helen Gould 

and sent them to her beautiful villa on the Hud- 

The camp rang with this refrain : 

You're the angel of the camp, 

Helen Gould, 

In the sun-rays, in the damp, 
On the weary, weary tramp, 
To our darkness you're a lamp, 

Helen Gould. 

Thoughts of home and gentle things, 

Helen Gould, 

To the camp your coming brings; 
All the place with music rings 
At the rustle of your wings, 

Helen Gould. 


On the day of the Dewey parade in New 
York, Miss Gould was in front of her house, on 
a platform she had erected for the small chil- 
dren of certain Asylums. Mayor Van Wyck 
told Admiral Dewey who she was, and the Ad- 
miral stood up in his carriage and bowed to her 
three times. Then the word went down the 
line that Miss Gould was there, and every com- 
pany saluted her as it passed. 

But it was when a body of young recruits 
stopped for a moment before her door that the 
real excitement began. 


How They Succeeded 

" She shan't marry a foreign prince, " they 
cried, tossing their hats and stamping their feet. 
" She's Helen, our Helen, and she shall not 
marry a foreign prince. " 


Miss Goul'd's patriotism is very real and in- 
tense, and is not confined to times of war. Two 
years ago, she caused fifty thousand copies of 
the national hymn, " America, " to be printed 
and distributed among the pupils of the public 
schools of New York. 

" I believe every one should know that hymn 
and sing it, " she declared, " if he sings no 
other. I would like to have the children sing 
it into their very souls, till it becomes a part of 
them. " 

She strongly favors patriotic services in the 
churches on the Sunday preceding the Fourth 
of July, when she would like to hear such airs 
as " America, " " Hail Columbia, " and " The 
Star Spangled Banner, " and see the sacred edi- 
fices draped in red, white, and blue. 


Miss Gould has a strong prejudice against 
letting her many gifts and charities be known, 


Miss Helen Gould 

and even her dearest friends never know " what 
Helen's doing now. " Of course, her great 
public charities, as when she gives a hundred 
thousand dollars at a time, are heralded. Her 
recent gift of that sum to the government, for 
national defense, has made her name beloved 
throughout the land; but, had she been able, she 
would have kept that secret also. 

The place Helen Gould now holds in the love 
and esteem of the republic exemplifies how 
quickly the nation's heart responds to the touch 
of gentleness, and how easy it is for wealth to 
conquer and rise triumphant, if only it be sea- 
soned with common sense and sympathy. 

I will not attempt to specify the numerous 
projects of charity that have been given life and 
vigor by Miss Gould. I know her gifts in recent 
years have passed the million-dollar mark. 

" It seems so easy to do things for others, " 
said Miss Gould, recently. It is easy to do 
good, if the doing is natural and without 
thought of self-glorification. 

Miss Gould's views upon "How to Make the 
Most of Wealth, " are well set forth in her ad- 
mirable letter to Dr. Louis Klopsch, as published 
in the Christian Herald: 

"The Christian idea that wealth is a steward- 


How They Succeeded 

ship, or trust, and not to be used for one's per- 
sonal pleasure alone, but for the welfare of 
others, certainly seems the noblest; and those 
who have more money or broader culture owe a 
debt to those who have had fewer opportuni- 

" And there are so many ways one can help. 
Children, the sick and the aged especially, have 
claims on our attention, and the forms of 
work for them are numerous ; from kindergar- 
tens, day-nurseries and industrial schools, to 
1 homes ' and hospitals. Our institutions for 
higher education require gifts in order to do 
their best work, for the tuition fees do not cover 
the expense of the advantages offered; and cer- 
tainly such societies as those in our churches, 
and the Young Woman's Christian Association 
and the Young Men's Christian Association, 
deserve our hearty cooperation. The earnest 
workers who so nobly and lovingly give their 
lives to promote the welfare of others, give far 
more than though they had simply made gifts of 
money, so those who cannot afford to give 
largely need not feel discouraged on that ac- 
count. After all, sympathy and good-will may 
be a greater force than wealth, and we can all 
extend to others a kindly feeling and courteous 


Miss Helen Gould 

consideration, that will make life sweeter and 

" Sometimes it seems to me we do not suf- 
ficiently realize the good that is done by money 
that is used in the different industries in giving 
employment to great numbers of people under 
the direction of clever men and women; and 
surely it takes more ability, perseverance and 
time to successfully manage such an enterprise 
than to merely make gifts. " 


Miss Gould's life at Tarrytown is an ideal 
one. She runs down to the city at frequent in- 
tervals, to attend to business affairs; but she 
lives at Lyndhurst. She entertains but few 
visitors, and in turn visits but seldom. The 
management of her property, to which she gives 
close attention, makes no inconsiderable call 
upon her time. " I have no time for society, " 
she said, " and indeed I do not care for it at 
all; it is very well for those who like it. " 

Would you have an idea of her personality? 
" If so, " replies Landis, " you will think of a 
good young woman in your own town, who 
loves her parents and her home; who is devoted 
to the church; who thinks of the poor on 


How They Succeeded 

Thanksgiving Day and Christmas; whose face 
is bright and manner unaffected; whose dress 
is elegant in its simplicity; who takes an in- 
terest in all things, from politics to religion; 
whom children love and day-laborers greet by 
reverently lifting the hat; and who, if she were 
graduated from a home seminary or college, 
would receive a bouquet from every boy in 
town. If you can think of such a young wo- 
man, and nearly every community has one 
(and ninety-nine times out of a hundred she is 
poor), you have a fair idea of the impression 
made on a plain man from a country town by 
Miss Gould." 

Helen Miller Gould is just at the threshold 
of her beautiful career. What a promise is 
there in her life and work for the coming cen- 

She has pledged a Hall of Fame for the cam- 
pus of the New York University, overlooking 
the Harlem river. It will have tablets for the 
names of fifty distinguished Americans; and 
proud will be the descendants of those whose 
names are inscribed thereon. 

The human heart is the tablet upon which 
Miss Gould has inscribed her name, and her 
" Hall of Fame " is as broad and high as the 
republic itself. 

6 4 

IV p:S i|I 

Philip D. Armour's Business 

I MET Mr. Armour in the quiet of the Ar- 
mour Institute, his great philanthropic 
school for young men and women. He 
was very courteous, and there was no delay, 
lie took my hand with a firm grasp reading 
with his steady gaze such of my characteristics 
as interested him, and saying, at the same 
time, " Well, sir." 

In stating my desire to learn such lessons 
from his business career as might be helpful to 
young men, I inquired whether the average 
American boy of to-day has equally as good a 
chance to succeed in the world as he had, when 
he began life. 

" Every bit and better. The affairs of life are 
larger. There are greater things to do. There 
was never before such a demand for able men. " 

" Were the conditions surrounding your 
youth especially difficult ? " 


How They Succeeded 

" No. They were those common to every 
small New York town in 1832. I was born at 
Stockbridge, in Madison county. Our family 
had its roots in Scotland. My father's ances- 
tors were the Robertsons, Watsons, and Mc- 
Gregors of Scotland; my mother came of the 
Puritans, who settled in Connecticut." 

" Dr. Gunsaulus says, " I ventured, " that all 
these streams of heredity set toward business 
affairs. " 

" Perhaps so. I like trading well My father 
was reasonably prosperous and independent for 
those times. My mother had been a school- 
teacher. There were six boys, and of course 
such a household had to be managed with the 
strictest economy in those days. My mother 
thought it her duty to bring to our home some 
of the rigid discipline of the school-room. We 
were all trained to work together, and every- 
thing was done as systematically as possible. " 

" Had you access to any books? " 

" Yes, the Bible, ' Pilgrim's Progress/ and a 
History of the United States. " 

It is said of the latter, by those closest to Mr. 
Armour, that it was as full of shouting Ameri- 
canism as anything ever written, and that Mr. 
Armour's whole nature is yet colored by its 


Philip D. Armour 

stout American prejudices; also that it was read 
and re-read by the Armour children, though of 
this the great merchant did not speak. 

" Were you always of a robust constitu- 
tion?" I asked. 

" Yes, sir. All our boys were. We were 
stout enough to be bathed in an ice-cold spring, 
out of doors, when at home. There were no 
bath tubs and warm water arrangements in 
those days. We had to be strong. My father 
was a stern Scotchman, and when he laid his 
plans they were carried out. When he set us 
boys to work, we worked. It was our mother 
who insisted on keeping us all at school, and 
who looked after our educational needs; while 
our father saw to it that we had plenty of good, 
hard work on the farm. " 

" How did you enjoy that sort of life? " I 

" Well enough, but not much more than any 
boy does. Boys are always more or less afraid 
of hard work. " 

The truth is, I have heard, but not from Mr. 
Armour, that when he attended the district 
school, he was as full of pranks and capers as 
the best; and that he traded jack-knives in 
summer and bob-sleds in winter. Young Ar- 

6 7 

How They Succeeded 

mour was often to be found, in the winter, 
coasting down the long hill near the school- 
house. Later, he had a brief term of school- 
ing at the Cazenovia Seminary. 


" When did you leave the farm for a mer- 
cantile life ?" I asked. 

" I was a clerk in a store in Stockbridge for 
two years, after I was seventeen, but was en- 
gaged with the farm more or less, and wanted 
to get out of that life. I was a little over seven- 
teen years old when the California gold excite- 
ment of 1849 reached our town. Wonderful 
tales were told of gold already found, and the 
prospects for more on the Pacific coast. I 
brooded over the difference between tossing hay 
in the hot sun and digging up gold by handfuls, 
until one day I threw down my pitchfork and 
went over to the house and told mother that 
I had quit that kind of work. 

" People with plenty of money could sail 
around Cape Horn in those days, but I had no 
money to spare, and so decided to walk across 
the country. That is, we were carried part of 
the way by rail and walked the rest. I per- 


Philip D. Armour 

suaded one of the neighbor's boys, Calvin Gil- 
bert, to go along with me, and we started. 

" I provided myself with an old carpet sack 
into which to put my clothes. I bought a new 
pair of boots, and when we had gone as far as 
we could on canals and wagons, I bought two 
oxen. With these we managed for awhile, but 
eventually reached California afoot." 

Young Armour suffered a severe illness on 
the journey, and was nursed by his companion 
Gilbert, who gathered herbs and steeped them 
for his friend's use, and once rode thirty miles 
in the rain to get a doctor. When they reached 
California, he fell in with Edward Croarkin, a 
miner, who nursed him back to health. The 
manner in which he remembered these men 
gives keen satisfaction to the friends of the 
great merchant. 

" Did you have any money when you arrived 
at the gold-fields?" 

" Scarcely any. I struck right out, though, 
and found a place where I could dig, and I 
struck pay dirt in a little time." 

" Did you work entirely alone? " 

" No. It was not long before I met Mr. 
Croarkin at a little mining camp called Virginia. 

How They Succeeded 

He had the next claim to mine, and we became 
partners. After a little while, he went away, 
but came back in a year. We then bought in 
together. The way we ran things was l turn 
about/ Croarkin would cook one week, and I 
the next, and then we would have a clean-up 
every Sunday morning. We baked our own 
bread, and kept a few hens, which kept us sup- 
plied with eggs. There was a man named Cha- 
pin who had a little store in the village, and we 
would take our gold dust there and trade it for 


" Did you discover much gold ? " I asked. 

" Oh, I worked with pretty good success, 
nothing startling. I didn't waste much, and 
tried to live carefully. I also studied the busi- 
ness opportunities around, and persuaded some 
of my friends to join me in buying and develop- 
ing a ' ditch,' a kind of aqueduct, to convey 
water to diggers and washers. That proved 
more profitable than digging for gold, and at 
the end of the year, the others sold out to me, 
took their earnings and went home. I stayed, 
and bought up several other water-powers, until, 
in 1856, I thought I had enough, and so I sold 
out and came East." 

Philip D. Armour 

" How much had you made, altogether? " 

" About four thousand dollars." 

This was when Mr. Armour was twenty-four 
years old, his capital for beginning to do 


" Did you return to Stockbridge ? " 
" A little while, but my ambition set in an- 
other direction. I had been studying the 
methods then -used for moving the vast and 
growing food products of the West, such as 
grain and cattle, and I believed that I could 
improve them and make money. The idea and 
the field interested me and I decided to enter it. 
" My standing was good, and I raised the 
money, and bought what was then the largest 
elevator in Milwaukee. This put me in contact 
with the movement of grain. At that time, 
John Plankington had been established in Mil- 
waukee a number of years, and, in partnership 
with Frederick Layton, had built up a good 
pork-packing concern. I bought in with those 
gentlemen, and so came in contact with the 
work I liked. One of my brothers, Herman, 
had established himself in Chicago some time 
before, in the grain-commission business. I got 

7 1 

How They Succeeded 

him to turn that over to the care of another 
brother, Joseph, so that he might go to New 
York as a member of the new firm, of which I 
was a partner. It was important that the Mil- 
waukee and Chicago houses should be able to 
ship to a house of their own in New York, 
that is, to themselves. Risks were avoided in 
this way, and we were certain of obtaining all 
that the ever-changing markets could offer us." 

" When did you begin to build up your Chi- 
cago interests? " 

" They were really begun, before the war, by 
my brother Herman. When he went to New 
York for us, we began adding a small packing- 
house to the Chicago commission branch. It 
gradually grew with the growth of the West." 



" Is there any one thing that accounts for the 
immense growth of the packing industry here? " 
I asked. 

" System and the growth of the West did it. 
Things were changing at startling rates in those 
days. The West was growing fast. Its great 
areas of production offered good profits to men 

72 _ 

Philip D. Armour 

who would handle and ship the products. Rail- 
v/ay lines were reaching out in new directions, 
or increasing their capacities and lowering their 
rates of transportation. These changes and the 
growth of the country made the creation of a 
food-gathering and delivering system neces- 
sary. Other things helped. At that time 
(1863), a great many could see that the war 
was going to terminate favorably for the Union. 
Farming operations had been enlarged by the 
war demand and war prices. The state bank- 
ing system had been done away with, and we 
had a uniform currency, available everywhere, 
so that exchanges between the East and the 
West had become greatly simplified. Nothing 
more was needed than a steady watchfulness 
of the markets by competent men in continu- 
ous telegraphic communication with each other, 
and who knew the legitimate demand and sup- 
ply, in order to sell all products quickly and 
with profit." 


" Do you believe that system does so much ? " 
I ventured. 

" System and good measure. Give a measure 
heaped full and running over, and success is 


How They Succeeded 

certain. That is what it means to be the intelli- 
gent servants of a great public need. We be- 
lieved in thoughtfully adopting every attainable 
improvement, mechanical or otherwise, in the 
methods and appliances for handling every 
pound of grain or flesh. Right liberality and 
right economy will do everything where a pub- 
lic need is being served. Then, too, our 


improved all the time. There was a time when 
many parts of cattle were wasted, and the 
health of the city injured by the refuse. Now, 
by adopting the best known methods, nothing 
is wasted; and buttons, fertilizers, glue and 
other things are made cheaper and better for 
the world in general, out of material that was 
before a waste and a menace. I believe in find- 
ing out the truth about all things the very 
latest truth or discovery, and applying it." 
" You attribute nothing to good fortune? " 
" Nothing ! " Certainly the word came well 
from a man whose energy, integrity, and busi- 
ness ability made more money out of a ditch 
than other men were making out of rich placers 
in the gold region. 


Philip D. Armour 


" May I ask what you consider the turning- 
point of your career? " 

" The time when I began to save the money 
I earned at the gold-fields." 


" What trait do you consider most essential 
in young men ? " 

" Truth. Let them get that. Young men 
talk about getting capital to work with. Let 
them get truth on board, and capital follows. 
It's easy enough to get that." 


" Did you always desire to follow a commer- 
cial, rather than a professional life ? " 

" Not always. I have no talent in any other 
direction; but I should have liked to be a great 

Mr. Armour would say no more on this sub- 
ject, but his admiration for oratory has been 
demonstrated in a remarkable way. 

It was after a Sunday morning discourse by 
the splendid orator, Dr. Gunsaulus, at Plymouth 


How They Succeeded 

Church, Chicago, in which the latter had set 
forth his views on the subject of educating chil- 
dren, that Mr. Armour came forward and 
said : 

" You believe in those ideas of yours, do 

" I certainly do," said Dr. Gunsaulus. 

" And would you carry them out if you had 
the opportunity? " 

" I would." 

" Well, sir," said Mr. Armour, " if you will 
give me five years of your time, I will give you 
the money." 

" But to carry out my ideas would take a 
million dollars ! " exclaimed Gunsaulus. 

" I have made a little money in my time," 
returned Mr. Armour. And so the famous Ar- 
mour Institute of Technology, to which its 
founder has already given sums aggregating 
$2,800,000, was associated with Mr. Armour's 
love of oratory. 

One of his lieutenants says that Gerritt Smith, 
the old abolitionist, was Armour's boyhood's 
hero, and that to-day Mr. Armour will go far 
to hear a good speaker, often remarking that 
he would have preferred to be a great orator 
rather than a great capitalist. 

7 6 

Philip D. Armour 


" There is no need to ask you," I continued, 
" whether you believe in constant, hard labor? " 

" I should not call it hard. I believe in close 
application, of course, while laboring. Over- 
work is not necessary to success. Every man 
should have plenty of rest. I have." 

" You must rise early to be at your office at 
half past seven ? " 

" Yes, but I go to bed early. I am not burn- 
ing the candle at both ends." 

The enormous energy of this man, who is too 
modest to 3iscuss it, is displayed in the most 
normal manner. Though he sits all day at a 
desk which has direct cable connection with 
London, Liverpool, Calcutta, and other great 
centers of trade, with which he is in constant 
connection, though he has at his hand long- 
distance telephone connection with New York, 
New Orleans, and San Francisco, and direct 
wires from his room to almost all parts of the 
world, conveying messages in short sentences 
upon subjects which involve the moving of vast 
amounts of stock and cereals, and the exchange 
of millions in money, he is not, seemingly, an 
overworked man. The great subjects to which 


How They Succeeded 

he gives calm, undivided attention from early 
morning until evening, are laid aside with the 
ease with which one doffs his raiment, and out- 
side of his office the cares weigh upon him no 
more. His mind takes up new and simpler 

" What do you do," I inquired, " after your 
hard day's work, think about it ? " 

" Not at all. I drive, take up home subjects, 
and never think of the office until I return to it." 

" Your sleep is never disturbed? " 

" Not at all." 


And yet the business which this man forgets, 
when he gathers children about him and moves 
in his simple home circle, amounts in one year, 
to over $100,000,000 worth of food products, 
manufactured and distributed; the hogs killed, 
1,750,000; the cattle, 1,080,000; the sheep, 
625,000. Eleven thousand men are constantly 
employed, and the wages paid them are over 
$5,500,000; the railway cars owned and moving 
about all parts of the country, four thousand; 
the wagons of many kinds and of large number, 
drawn by seven hundred and fifty horses. The 
glue factory, employing seven hundred and fifty 


Philip D. Armour 

hands, makes over twelve million pounds of 
glue. In his private office, it is he who takes 
care of all the general affairs of this immense 
world of industry, and yet at half-past four he 
is done, and the whole subject is comfortably 
off his mind. 


" Do you believe in inherited abilities, or that 
any boy can be taught and trained, and made a 
great and able man ? " 

" I recognize inherited ability. Some people 
have it, and only in a certain direction; but I 
think men can be taught and trained so that 
they become much better and more useful than 
they would be, otherwise. Some boys require 
more training and teaching than others. There 
is prosperity for everyone, according to his 

" What would you do with those who are 
naturally less competent than others ? " 

" Train them, and give them work according 
to their ability. I believe that life is all right, 
and that this difference which nature makes is 
all right. Everything is good, and is coming 
out satisfactorily, and we ought to make the 
most of conditions, and try to use and improve 


How They Succeeded 

everything. The work needed is here, and 
everyone should set about doing it" 

When asked if he thought the chances for 
young men as good to-day as they were when 
he was young. " Yes," he said, " I think so. 
The world is changing every day and new fields 
are constantly opening. We have new ideas, 
new inventions, new methods of manufacture, 
and new ways to-day everywhere. There is 
plenty of room for any man who can do any- 
thing well. The electrical field is a wonderful 
one. There are other things equally good, and 
the right man is never at a loss for an oppor- 
tunity. Provided he has some ability and good 
sense to start with, is thrifty, honest and eco- 
nomical, there is no reason why any young man 
should not accumulate money and attain so 
called success in life." 

When asked to what qualities he attributed 
his own success, Mr. Armour said : " I think 
that thrift and economy had much to do with 
it. I owe much to my mother's training and to 
a good line of Scotch ancestors, who have al- 
ways been thrifty and economical. As to my 
business education, I never had any. I am, in 
fact, a good deal like Topsy, * I just growed.' 


Philip D. Armour 

My success has been largely a matter of organ- 

" I have always made it a point to surround 
myself with good men. I take them when they 
are young and keep them just as long as I can. 
Nearly all of the men I now have, have grown 
up with me. Many of them have worked with 
me for twenty years. They have started in at 
low wages, and have been advanced until they 
have reached the highest positions." Mr. Ar- 
mour thinks that most men who accumulate 
a large amount of money, inherited the money- 
making instinct. The power of making and 
accumulating money, he says, is as much a 
natural gift as are those of a singer or an artist. 
" The germs of the power to make money must 
be in the mind. Take, for instance, the people 
we have working with us. I can get millions 
of good bookkeepers or accountants, but not 
more than one out of five hundred in all of those 
I have employed has made a great success as an 
organizer or trader." 

Mr. Armour is a great believer in young men 
and young brains. He never discharges a man 
if he can possibly avoid it. If the man is not 
doing good work where he is, he puts him in 
some other department, but never discharges 


How They Succeeded 

him if he can find him other work. He will 
not, however, tolerate intemperance, laziness or 
getting into debt. Some time ago a policeman 
entered his office. In answer to Mr. Armour's 
question, "What do you want here?" he re- 
plied : " I want to garnishee one of your men's 
wages for debt." " Indeed," said Mr. Armour, 
" and who is the man ? " Asking the officer 
into his private room he sent for the debtor. 
" How long have you been in debt? " asked Mr. 
Armour. The clerk replied that he had been 
behind for twenty years and could not seem to 
catch up. " But you get a good salary, don't 
you?" "Yes, but I can't get out of debt." 
" But you must get out, or you must leave here," 
said Mr. Armour. " How much do you owe? " 
The clerk then gave the amount, which was 
less than a thousand- dollars. " Well," said Mr. 
Armour, handing him a check, " there is 
enough to pay all your debts, and if I hear of 
you again getting into debt, you will have to 
leave." The clerk paid his debts and remodeled 
his life on a cash basis. 


In illustration of Mr. Armour's aptitude for 
doing business, and his energy, it is related that 


Philip D. Armour 

when, in 1893, l ca l forces planned to defeat 
him in the grain market, and everyone was cry- 
ing that at last the great Goliath had met his 
David, he was all energy. He had ordered im- 
mense quantities of wheat. The opposition had 
shrewdly secured every available place of stor- 
age, and rejoiced that the great packer, having 
no place to store his property, would suffer im- 
mense loss, and must capitulate. He foresaw 
the fray and its dangers, and, going over on 
Goose Island, bought property at any price, and 
began the construction of immense elevators. 
The town was placarded with the truth that 
anyone could get work at Armour's elevators. 
No one believed they could be done in time, but 
three shifts of men working night and day, often 
under the direct supervision of the millionaire, 
gradually forced the work ahead, and when, on 
the appointed day, the great grain-ships began 
to arrive, the opposition realized failure. The 
vessels began to pour the contents of their im- 
mense holds into these granaries, and the fight 
was over. 


The foresight that sent him to New York in 
1864, to sell pork, brought him back from Eu- 


How They Succeeded 

rope in 1893, months before the impending 
panic was dreamed of by other merchants. It 
is told of him that he called all his head men to 
New York, and announced to them : 

" Gentlemen, there's going to be financial 
trouble soon." 

" Why, Mr. Armour," they said, " you must 
be mistaken. Things were never better. You 
have been ill, and are suddenly apprehensive." 

" Oh, no," he said, " I'm not. There is going 
to be trouble; " and he gave as his reasons cer- 
tain conditions which existed in nearly all coun- 
tries, which none of those present had thought 
of. " Now," said he to the first of his many 
lieutenants, " how much will you need to run 
your department until next year ? " 

The head man named his need. The others 
were asked, each in turn, the same question, and, 
when all were through, he counted up, and, 
turning to the company, said : 

" Gentlemen, go back and borrow all you 
need in Chicago, on my credit. Use my name 
for all it will bring in the way of loans." 


The lieutenants returned, and the name of 
Armour was strained to its utmost limit. When 

8 4 

Philip D. Armour 

all had been borrowed, the financial flurry sud- 
denly loomed up, but it did not worry the great 
packer. In his vaults were $8,000,000 in 
gold. All who had loaned him at interest then 
hurried to his doors, fearing that he also was 
imperiled. They found him supplied with ready 
money, and able to compel them to wait until 
the stipulated time of payment, or to force them 
to abandon their claims of interest for their 
money, and so tide him over the unhappy per- 
iod. It was a master stroke, and made the 
name of the great packer a power in the world 
of finance. 


" Do you consider your financial decisions 
which you make quickly to be brilliant intui- 
tions?" I asked. 

" I never did anything worth doing by acci- 
dent, nor did anything I have come that way. 
No, I never decide anything without knowing 
the conditions of the market, and never begin 
unless satisfied concerning the conclusion." 

" Not everyone could do that," I said. 

" I cannot do everything. Every man can do 
something, and there is plenty to do, never 
more than now. The problems to be solved are 


How They Succeeded 

greater now than ever before. Never was there 
more need of able men. I am looking for 
trained men all the time. More money is being 
offered for them everywhere than formerly." 

" Do you consider that happiness consists in 
labor alone? " 

" It consists in doing something for others. 
If you give the world better material, better 
measure, better opportunities for living respect- 
ably, there is happiness in that. You cannot 
give the world anything without labor, and 
there is no satisfaction in anything but such 
labor as looks toward doing this, and does it." 



What Miss Mary E. Proctor Did 
to Popularize Astronomy 

YOU can never know what your possi- 
bilities are," said Miss Proctor, "till 
you have put yourself to the test. 
There are many, many women who long to 
do something, and could succeed, if they would 
only banish their doubts, and plunge in. For 
example, I was not at all sure that I could 
interest audiences with talks on astronomy, but, 
in 1893, I began, and since then have given 
between four and five hundred lectures." 

Miss Proctor is so busy spreading knowl- 
edge of the beauties and marvels of the heavens, 
that she was at home in New York for only a 
two days' interval between tours, when she con- 
sented to talk to me about her work. This talk 
showed such enthusiasm and whole-souled de- 
votion to the theme that it is easy to understand 
Miss Proctor's success as a lecturer, although 


How They Succeeded 

she is physically diminutive, and is very domes- 
tic in her tastes. 


" I am always nervous in going before an 
audience/' she said, " but there is so much I 
want to tell them that I have no time at all to 
think of myself. I find that if the lecturer is 
really interested in the subject, those who come 
to listen usually are; and it is certainly true, as 
I have learned by going upon the platform, tired 
out from a long journey, that you cannot ex- 
pect enthusiasm in your audience, unless you 
are enthusiastic yourself. But I tfiink that au- 
diences are very responsive and appreciative of 
intelligent efforts to interest them, and, there- 
fore, I am sure, that if a woman possesses, or 
can acquire a thorough knowledge of some prac- 
tical, popular subject, and has enthusiasm and 
a fair knowledge of human nature, she can at- 
tain success on the lecture platform. 

" The field is broad, and far from over- 
crowded, and it yields bountifully to those who 
are willing to toil and wait. There is Miss 
Roberts, for instance, who commands large 
audiences for her lectures on music; and Mrs. 
Lemcke, who has been remarkably successful 

Miss Mary E. Proctor 

in her practical talks on cooking; and Mary 
E. Booth, who gives wonderfully instructive 
and entertaining lectures on the revelations of 
the microscope; and Miss Very, who takes au- 
diences of children on most delightful and 
profitable imaginary trips to places of import- 


" Children, by the way, are my most satisfac- 
tory audiences. Grown-up people never become 
so absorbed. It is the greatest pleasure of my 
lecturing to talk to the little tots, and watch 
them drink it all in. Indeed, I prepared my 
very first lecture for children, but didn't deliver 
it. That episode marked the beginning of my 
career as a lecturer. 

" Do you ask me to tell you about it ? My 
father, Richard A. Proctor, wrote, as you know, 
many books on popular astronomy. When I 
was a girl I did not read them very carefully; 
my education at South Kensington, London, 
following a musical and artistic direction. In 
fact, I was ambitious to become a painter. But 
when my father died, in 1888, I found comfort 
in reading his books all over again; and as he 
had drilled me to write for his periodical, 

How They Succeeded 

'Knowledge' I began to write articles on as- 
tronomy for anyone who would accept them. 
One day, in the spring of 1893, I received a 
letter from Mrs. Potter Palmer, asking me if I 
would talk to an audience of children in the 
Children's Building at the World's Fair. The 
idea of lecturing was new to me, but I decided 
that I would try, at any rate, and so I took 
great pains to prepare a talk that I thought the 
children would understand, and be interested in. 
But when I reached the building, I found an 
audience, not of children, but of men and wo- 
men. There was hardly a child in all the as- 
sembled five hundred people. It would never do 
to give them the childish talk I had prepared, 
and as it was my first attempt to talk from a 
platform, you can imagine my state of mind. 
I was determined, however, that my first effort 
should not be a fiasco, so I stepped out upon 
the platform and talked about the things that 
had most interested me in my father's books 
and conversations. 


" I have lectured a great many times since 
then, but my first lecture was the most trying. 
I am now glad that things happened as they 


Miss Mary E, Proctor 

did, for that experience taught me a valuable 
lesson. I learned not to commit my talks to 
memory, but merely to have the topics and facts 
and general arrangement of the lecture well in 
mind. By this method, I can change and adapt 
myself to my audience at any time; and I often 
have to do this. I am able to feel intuitively 
whether I have gained my listeners' sympathy 
and interest, and when I feel that I have not, I 
immediately take another tack. Another great 
advantage of not committing what you are go- 
ing to say to memory, word for word, is the 
added color and animation and spontaneity 
which the conversational tone and manner gives 
the lecture. 


" My stereopticon pictures of the heavenly 
bodies are of great help to me. They naturally 
add much to the interest, and are really a revela- 
tion to most of my audiences, for the reason 
that they show things that can never be seen 
with the naked eye. How my father would 
have delighted in them, and how effectively he 
would have used them. But celestial photog- 
raphy had not been made practical at the time of 
his death; it is, indeed, quite a new art, al- 

9 1 

How They Succeeded 

though its general principles are very simple. 
A special lens and photographic plate are ad- 
justed in the telescope, and the plate is exposed 
as in an ordinary camera, except that the ex- 
posure is much longer. It usually continues for 
about four hours, the greater the length of time 
the greater being the number of stars that will 
be seen in the photograph. After the develop- 
ing, these stars appear as mere specks on the 
plate. That they are so small is not surprising, 
for most of them are stars that are never seen 
by the eye alone. When the photograph is en- 
larged by the stereopticon, the result is like look- 
ing at a considerable portion of the heavens 
through a powerful telescope. 

" The children utter exclamations of delight 
when they see the pictures, the children, dear, 
imaginative little souls, it is my ambition to de- 
vote more and more of my time to them, and 
finally talk and write for them altogether. They 
are greatly impressed with the new world in 
the skies which is opened to them, and I like to 
think that these early impressions will give them 
an understanding and appreciation of the won- 
ders of astronomy that will always be a pleasure 
to them. 

Miss Mary E. Proctor 


" For the children, my first book, ' Stories 
From Star-land/ was written. I tried to weave 
into it poetical and romantic ideas, that appeal 
to the imaginative mind of the child, and 
quicken the interest without any sacrifice of ac- 
curacy in the facts with which I deal. I wrote 
the book in a week. The publisher came to me 
one Saturday, and told me that he would like a 
children's book on astronomy. I devoted all my 
days to it till the following Saturday night, and 
on Monday morning took the completed manu- 
script to the publishing house. They seemed 
very much surprised that it should be finished 
so soon ; but as a matter of fact it was not much 
more than the manual labor of writing out the 
manuscript that I did in that week. The little 
book itself is the result of ten years' thought 
and study. 

" It is much the same with my lectures. I 
deliver them in a hasty, conversational tone, and 
they seem, as one of my listeners told me re- 
cently, to be ' just offhand chats/ But in 
reality I devote a great deal of labor to them, 
and am constantly adding new facts and new 


How They Succeeded 


" I learned very soon after I began my work, 
that / must give myself up to it absolutely if I 
were to achieve success. There could be no side 
issues, nothing else to absorb any of my energy, 
or take any of my thought or time. One of the 
first things I did was to take a thorough course 
in singing, for the purpose of acquiring complete 
control of my voice. I put aside all social func- 
tions, of which I am rather fond and have since 
devoted my days and nights to astronomy, 
not that I work at night, except when I lecture; 
I rest and retire early, so that in the morning 
I may have the spirit and enthusiasm necessary 
to do good work. 

" Enthusiasm, it seems to me, is an important 
factor in success. It combats discouragement, 
makes work a pleasure, and sacrifices easier. 

" A great many women fail in special fields 
of endeavor, who might succeed if they were 
willing to sacrifice something, and would not 
let the distractions creep in. There is more in 
a woman's life to divert her attention from a 
single purpose than in a man's ; but if the woman 
has chosen some line of effort that is worthy to 
be called life work, and if refusing to be drawn 


Miss Mary E. Proctor 

aside, she keeps her eyes steadfastly upon the 
goal, I believe that she is almost certain to 
achieve success. " 



The Boyhood Experience of 
President Schurman of Cor- 
nell University 

AT ten years of age, he was a country lad 
on a backwoods farm on Prince Ed- 
ward Island. 

At thirteen, he had become a clerk in a coun- 
try store, at a salary of thirty dollars a year. 

At eighteen, he was a college student, sup- 
porting himself by working in the evenings as a 

At twenty, he had won a scholarship in the 
University of London, in competition with all 
other Canadian students. 

At twenty-five, he was professor of philoso- 
phy, Acadia College, Nova Scotia. 

At thirty-eight, he was appointed President 
of Cornell University. 

At forty-four, he was chairman of President 

Jacob Gould Schurman 

McKinley's special commission to the Philip- 

In this summary is epitomized the career of 
Jacob Gould Schurman. It is a romance of 
real life such as is not unfamiliar in America. 
Mr. Schurman's career differs from that of 
some other self-made men, however. Instead 
of heaping up millions upon millions, he has 
applied his talents to winning the intellectual 
prizes of life, and has made his way, unaided, 
to the front rank of the leaders in thought and 
learning in this country. His career is a source 
of inspiration to all poor boys who have their 
own way to make in the world, for he has 
won his present honors by his own unaided 

President Schurman says of his early life : 
" It is impossible for the boy of to-day, no 
matter in what part of the country he is 
brought up, to appreciate the life of Prince Ed- 
ward Island as it was forty years ago. At that 
time, it had neither railroads nor daily news- 
papers, nor any of the dozen other things that 
are the merest commonplaces nowadays, even 
to the boys of the country districts. I did not 
see a railroad until late in my 'teens I was 
never inside of a theatre until after I was 


How They Succeeded 

twenty. The only newspaper that came to my 
father's house was a little provincial weekly. 
The only books the house contained were a 
few standard works, such as the Bible, Bun- 
yan's ' Pilgrim's Progress, ' Fox's ' Book of 
Martyrs, ' and a few others of that class. Re- 
member, too, that this was not back at the be- 
ginning of the century, but little more than a 
generation ago, for I was born in the year 

"My father had cleared away the land on 
which our house stood. He was a poor man, 
but no poorer than his neighbors. No amount 
of land, and no amount of work could yield 
much more than the necessaries of life in that 
time and place. There were eight children in 
our family, and there was work for all of us. 


" Our parents were anxious to have their 
children acquire at least an elementary educa- 
tion; and so, summer and winter, we tramped 
the mile and a half that lay between our house 
and the district school, and the snow often fell 
to the depth of five or six feet on the island, 
and sometimes, when it was at its worst, our 

Jacob Gould Schurman 

father would drive us all to school in a big 
sleigh. But no weather was bad enough to 
keep us away. 

" That would be looked upon as a poor kind 
of school, nowadays, I suppose. The scholars 
were of all ages, and everything, from A,-B,-C, 
to the Rule of Three, was taught by the one 
teacher. But whatever may have been its de- 
ficiencies, the work of the school was thorough. 
The teacher was an old-fashioned drillmaster, 
and whatever he drove into our heads he put 
there to stay. I went to this school until I 
was thirteen, and by that time I had learned to 
read and write and spell and figure with con- 
siderable accuracy. 

" At the age of thirteen, I left home. I had 
formed no definite plans for the future. I 
merely wanted to get into a village, and to earn 
some money. 

" My father got me a place in the nearest 
town, Summerside, a village of about one 
thousand inhabitants. For my first year's 
work I was to receive thirty dollars and my 
board. Think of that, young men of to-day! 
Thirty dollars a year for working from seven 
in the morning until ten at night! But I was 
glad to get the place. It was a start in the 


How They Succeeded 

world, and the little village was like a city to 
my country eyes. 


" From the time I began working in the store 
until to-day, I have always supported myself, 
and during all the years of my boyhood I never 
received a penny that I did not earn myself. 
At the end of my first year, I went to a larger 
store in the same town, where I was to receive 
sixty dollars a year and my board. I kept this 
place for two years, and then I gave it up, 
against the wishes of my employer, because I 
had made up my mind that I wanted to get a 
better education. I determined to go to college. 

" I did not know how I was going to do this, 
except that it must be by my own efforts. I 
had saved about eighty dollars from my store- 
keeping, and that was all the money I had in 
the world." Out of a hundred and fifty dollars, 
the only cash he received us his first earnings 
during three years, young Schurman had saved 
eighty dollars; this he invested in the begin- 
nings of an education. 

" When I told my employer of my plan, he 
tried to dissuade me from it. He pointed out 
the difficulties in the way of my going to 


Jacob Gould Schurman 

college, and offered to double my pay if I would 
stay in the store. 


" That was the turning-point in my life. On 
one side was the certainty of one hundred and 
twenty dollars a year, and the prospect of pro- 
motion as fast as I deserved it. Remember 
what one hundred and twenty dollars meant 
in Prince Edward Island, and to a poor boy 
who had never possessed such a sum in his life. 
On the other side was my hope of obtaining an 
education. I knew that it involved hard work 
and self-denial, and there was the possibility of 
failure in the end. But my mind was made up. 
I would not turn back. I need not say that I 
do not regret that early decision, although I 
think that I should have made a successful 

" With my eighty dollars capital, I began to 
attend the village high school, to get my 
preparation for college. I had only one year to 
do it in. My money would not last longer than 
that. I recited in Latin, Greek and algebra, 
all on the same day, and for the next forty 
weeks I studied harder than I ever had before 
or have since. At the end of the year I entered 


How They Succeeded 

the competitive examination for a scholarship 
in Prince of Wales College, at Charlotte Town, 
on the island. I had small hope of winning it, 
my preparation had been so hasty and incom- 
plete. But when the result was announced, I 
found that I had not only won the scholarship 
from my county, but stood first of all the com- 
petitors on the island. 

" The scholarship I had won amounted to 
only sixty dollars a year. It seems little 
enough, but I can say now, after nearly thirty 
years, that the winning of it was the greatest 
success I have ever had. I have had other re- 
wards, which, to most persons, would seem 
immeasurably greater, but with this difference : 
that first success was essential; without it I 
could not have gone on. The others I could 
have done without, if it had been necessary. " 

For two years young Schurman attended 
Prince of Wales College. He lived on his 
scholarship and what he could earn by keeping 
books for one of the town storekeepers, spend- 
ing less than one hundred dollars during the 
entire college year. Afterwards, he taught a 
country school for a year, and then went to 
Acadia College in Nova Scotia to complete his 
college course. 


Jacob Gould Schurman 


One of Mr. Schurman's fellow-students in 
Acadia says that he was remarkable chiefly for 
taking every prize to which he was eligible. In 
his senior year, he learned of a scholarship in 
the University of London, to be competed for 
by the students of Canadian colleges. The 
scholarship paid five hundred dollars a year for 
three years. The young student in Acadia was 
ambitious to continue his studies in England, 
and saw in this offer his opportunity. He tried 
the examination and won the prize. 

During the three years in the University of 
London, Mr. Schurman became deeply inter- 
ested in the study of philosophy, and decided 
that he had found in it his life work. He was 
eager to go to Germany and study under the 
great leaders of philosophic thought. A way 
was opened for him, through the offer of the 
Hibbard Society in London; the prize being a 
traveling fellowship with two thousand dollars 
a year. The honor men of the great English 
universities like Oxford and Cambridge were 
among the competitors, but the poor country 
boy from Prince Edward Island was again suc- 
cessful, greatly to the surprise of the others. 


How They Succeeded 

At the end of his course in Germany, Mr. 
Schurman, then a Doctor of Philosophy, re- 
turned to Acadia College to become a teacher 
there. Soon afterwards, he was called to Dal- 
housie University, at Halifax, Nova Scotia. 
In 1886, when a chair of philosophy was estab- 
lished at Cornell, President White, who once 
met the brilliant young Canadian, called him to 
that position. Two years later, Dr. Schurman 
became Dean of the Sage School of Philosophy 
at Cornell; and, in 1892, when the President's 
chair became vacant, he was placed at the head 
of the great university. At that time, he was 
only thirty-eight years of age. 

President Schurman is a man of great in- 
tellectual power, and an inspiring presence. 
Though one of the youngest college presidents 
in the country, he is one of the most successful, 
and under his leadership Cornell has been very 
prosperous. He is deeply interested in all the 
affairs of young men, and especially those who, 
as he did, must make their own way in the 
world. He said, the other day : 

" Though I am no longer engaged directly in 
teaching, I should think my work a failure if 
I did not feel that my influence on the young 
men with whom I come in contact is as direct 
and helpful as that of a teacher could be. " 



The Story of John Wanamaker 

IN a plain two-story dwelling, on the out- 
skirts of Philadelphia, the future mer- 
chant prince was born, July n, 1837. 
His parents were Americans in humble station ; 
his mother being of that sturdy Pennsylvania 
Dutch stock which has no parallel except the 
Scotch for ruggedness. His father, a hard- 
working man, owned a brickyard in the close 
vicinity of the family residence. Little John 
earned his first money, seven big copper cents, 
by assisting his father. He was too small to 
do much, but turned the bricks every morning 
as they lay drying in the summer sun. As he 
grew older and stronger, the boy was given 
harder tasks around the brickyard. 

He went to school a little, not much, and he 
assisted his mother in the house a great deal. 
His father died when John was fourteen, and 
this changed the whole course of his life. He 


How They Succeeded 

abandoned the brickyard and secured a place 
in a bookstore owned by Barclay Lippincott, 
on Market Street, Philadelphia, at a salary of 
one dollar and twenty-five cents a week. 

It was a four-mile walk from his home to his 
place of business. Cheerfully he trudged this 
distance morning and night; purchasing an 
apple or a roll each noon for luncheon, and 
giving his mother all the money that he saved. 
He used to deny himself every comfort, and 
the only other money that he ever spent was on 
books for his mother. This seems to have been 
the boy's chief source of pleasure at that period. 
Even to-day, he says of his mother : " Her 
smile was a bit of heaven, and it never faded 
out of her face till her dying day. " Mrs. 
Wanamaker lived to see her son famous and 


John Wanamaker, the boy, had no single 
thing in all his surroundings to give him an 
advantage over any one of hundreds of other 
boys in the city of Philadelphia. Indeed, there 
were hundreds and hundreds of other boys of 
his own age for whom anyone would have felt 
safe in prophesying a more notable career. His 

1 06 

John Wanamaker 

capital was not in money. Very few boys in 
all that great city had less money than John 
Wanamaker, and comparatively few families 
of average position but were better off in the 
way of worldly goods. John Wanamaker's 
capital, that stood him in such good stead in 
after life, comprised good health, good habits, 
a clean mind, thrift in money matters, and tire- 
less devotion to whatever he thought to be duty. 

People who were well acquainted with John 
Wanamaker when he was a book publisher's 
boy, say that he was exceptionally promising as 
a boy; that he was studious as well as attentive 
to business. He did not take kindly to rough 
play, or do much playing of any kind. He was 
earnest in his work, unusually earnest for a 
boy. And he was saving of his money. 

When, a little later, he went to a Market 
street clothing house and asked for a place, he 
had no difficulty in getting it, nor had he any 
trouble in holding it, and here he could earn 
twenty-five cents a week more wages. 


Men who worked with him in the Tower 
Hall Clothing Store say that he was always 
bright, willing, accommodating, and very 


How They Succeeded 

seldom out of temper. His effort was to be 
first at the store in the morning, and he was 
very likely to be one of the last, if not the last, 
at the store in the evening. If there was an 
errand, he was always prompt and glad to do 
it. And so the store people liked him, and the 
proprietor liked him, and, when he began to 
sell clothing, the customers liked him. He was 
considerate of their interests. He did not try 
to force undesirable goods upon them. He 
treated them so that when they came again they 
would be apt to ask, " Where is John? " 


Colonel Bennett, the proprietor of Tower 
Hall, said of him at this time : 

" John was certainly the most ambitious boy 
I ever saw. I used to take him to lunch with 
me, and he used to tell me how he was going to 
be a great merchant. 

" He was very much interested in the temper- 
ance cause; and had not been with me long be- 
fore he persuaded most of the employees in 
the store to join the temperance society to 
which he belonged. He was always organiz- 
ing something. He seemed to be a natural- 


John Wanamaker 

born organizer. This faculty is largely ac- 
countable for his great success in after life. " 

THE Y. M. C. A. 

Young Wanamaker's religious principles 
were always at the forefront in whatever he 
did. His interest in Sunday School work, and 
his skill as an organizer became well known. 
And so earnestly did he engage in the work of 
the Young Men's Christian Association, that 
he was appointed the first salaried secretary of 
the Philadelphia branch, at one thousand 
dollars a year. Never since has a secretary en- 
rolled so many members in the same space of 
time. He passed seven years in this arduous 


He saved his money; and, at twenty-four, 
formed a partnership with his brother-in-law 
Nathan Brown, and opened Oak Hall Clothing 
store, in April, 1861. Their united capital was 
only $3,500; yet Wanamaker's capital of popu- 
lar good-will was very great. He was already 
a great power in the city. I can never forget 
the impression made upon my mind, after he 
had been in business but a few months, when I 


How They Succeeded 

visited his Bethany Sunday School, established 
in one of the most unpromising sections of the 
city, which had become already a factor for 
good, with one of the largest enrollments in 
the world. And he was foremost in every form 
of philanthropic work. 

It was because of his great capacity to do 
business that Wanamaker had been able to 
" boom " the Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion work. He knew how to do it. And he 
could " boom " a Sunday School, or anything 
else that he took hold of. He had 


whatever the business might be. And as for 
Oak Hall, he knew just what to do with it. 

The first thing he did was to multiply his 
working capital by getting the best help obtain- 
able for running the store. 

At the very outset, John Wanamaker did 
what almost any other business man would 
have stood aghast at. He chose the best man 
he knew as a salesman in the clothing business 
in Philadelphia, the man of the most winning 
personality who could attract trade, and 
agreed to pay him $1,350 for a year, one- 
third of the entire capital of the new concern. 


John Wanamaker 

It has been a prime principle with this mer- 
chant prince not only to deal fairly with his 
employees, but to make it an object for them 
to earn money for him and to stand by him. 
Capacity has been the first demand. He en- 
gaged the very best men to be had. There are 
to-day dozens of men in his employ who re- 
ceive larger salaries than are paid to cabinet 
ministers. All the employees of the Thirteenth 
Street store, which he occupied in 1877, par- 
ticipate in a yearly division of profits. Their 
share at the end of the first year amounted to 


A considerable portion of the trade of the 
new store came from people in the country dis- 
tricts. Mr. Wanamaker had a way of getting 
close to them and gaining their good will. He 
understood human nature. He put his customer 
at ease. He showed interest in the things that 
interested the farmer. An old employee of the 
firm says : " John used to put a lot of chestnuts 
in his pocket along in the fall and winter, and, 
when he had one of these countrymen in tow, 
he'd slip a few of the nuts into the visitor's 


How They Succeeded 

hand and both would go munching about the 
store. " 

Wanamaker was the first to introduce the 
" one-price system " into the clothing trade. It 
was the universal rule in those days, in the 
clothing trade, not to mark the prices plainly 
on the goods that were for sale. Within rather 
liberal bounds, the salesman got what he could 
from the customer. Mr. Wanamaker, after a 
time, instituted at Oak Hall the plan of " but 
one price and that plainly marked. " In doing 
this he followed the cue of Stewart, who was 
the first merchant in the country to introduce it 
into the dry-goods business. 

The great Wanamaker store of 1877 went 
much further: 

He announced that those who bought goods 
of him were to be satisfied with what they 
bought, or have their money back. 

To the old mercantile houses of the city, this 
seemed like committing business suicide. 

It was, also, unheard-of that special effort 
should be made to add to the comfort of visit- 
ors; to make them welcome whether they cared 
to buy or not ; to induce them to look upon the 
store as a meeting-place, a rendezvous, a rest- 
ing-place, a sort of city home, almost. 


John Wanamaker 


was so great that General Grant once remarked 
to George W. Childs that Wanamaker would 
have been a great general if his lot had been 
that of army service. 

Wanamaker used to buy goods of Stewart, 
and the New York merchant remarked to a 
friend : "If young Wanamaker lives, he will 
be a greater merchant than I ever was." 

Sometime in recent years, since Wanamaker 
bought the Stewart store, he said to Frank G. 
Carpenter : 

" A. T. Stewart was a genius. I have been 
surprised again and again as I have gone 
through the Broadway and Tenth Street build- 
ing, to find what a knowledge he had of the 
needs of a mercantile establishment. Mr. Stew- 
art put up a building which is to-day, I believe, 
better arranged than any of the modern struc- 
tures. He seemed to know just what was 

" I met him often when I was a young man. 
I have reason to think that he took a liking to 
me. One day, I remember, I was in his woolen 
department buying some stuffs for my store 
here, when he came up to me and asked if I 


How They Succeeded 

would be in the store for fifteen minutes longer. 
I replied that I would. At the end of fifteen 
minutes he returned and handed me a slip of 
paper, saying: 

" ' Young man, I understand that you have 
a mission school in Philadelphia; use that for 

" Before I could reply he had left. I looked 
down at the slip of paper. It was a check for 
one thousand dollars. " 

Wanamaker early showed himself the peer 
of the greatest merchants. He created the 
combination or department store. He lifted 
the retail clothing business to a higher plane 
than it had ever before reached. In ten years 
from the time he began to do business for him- 
self, he had absorbed the space of forty-five 
other tenants and become the leading merchant 
of his native city. Four years later, he had 
purchased, for $450,000, the freight depot of 
the Pennsylvania Railroad, covering the entire 
square where his present great store is located. 
The firm name became simply John Wana- 
maker. His lieutenants and business partners 
therein are his son Thomas B. Wanamaker, 
and Robert C. Ogden. Their two Philadelphia 
establishments alone do a business of between 


John Wanamaker 

$30,000,000 and $40,000,000 annually. Mr. 
Wanamaker's private fortune is one of the most 
substantial in America. 


Yet in all these years he has been early and 
late at the store, as he was when a boy. He 
has always seen to it that customers have prompt 
and careful attention. He early made the rule 
that if a sale was missed, a written reason must 
be rendered by the salesman. There was no 
hap-hazard business in that store, nothing of 
the happy-go-lucky style. Each man must be 
alert, wide-awake, attentive, or there was no 
place for him at Oak Hall. 


has been always a part of the system. It is told 
of him that, in the earlier days of Oak Hall, 
he used to gather up the short pieces of string 
that came in on parcels, make them into a 
bunch, and see that they were used when 
bundles were to be tied. He also had a habit 
of smoothing out old newspapers, and seeing 
that they were used as wrappers for such things 
as did not require a better grade of paper. 
The story has been often related of the first 


How They Succeeded 

day's business at the original store in '61, when 
Wanamaker delivered the sales by wheeling a 


The first day's business made a cash profit 
of thirty-eight dollars ; and the whole sum was 
invested in one advertisement in the next day's 
'*" Inquirer." 

His advertising methods were unique; he 
paid for the best talent he could get in this line. 

Philadelphia woke one morning to find " W. 
& B. " in the form of six-inch square posters 
stuck up all over the town. There was not an- 
other letter, no hint, just " W. & B. " Such 
things are common enough now, but then the 
whole city was soon talking and wondering 
what this sign meant. After a few days, a 
second poster modestly stated that Wanamaker 
& Brown had begun to sell clothing at Oak 
Hall. Before long there were great signs, each 
100 feet in length, painted on special fences 
built in a dozen places about the city, particu- 
larly near the railroad stations. These told of 
the new firm and were the first of a class that 
is now seen all over the country. Afterwards 


John Wanamaker 


more than twenty feet high were sent up, and 
a suit of clothes was given to each person who 
brought one of them back. Whole counties 
were stirred up by the balloons. It was grand 
advertising, imitated since by all sorts of 
people. When the balloon idea struck the Oak 
Hall management it was quickly found that the 
only way to get these air-ships was to make 
them, and so, on the roof of the store, the cotton 
cloth was cut and oiled and put together. 
Being well built, and tied very tightly at the 
neck, they made long flights and some of them 
were used over and over again. In one in- 
stance, a balloon remained for more than six 
months in a cranberry swamp, and when the 
great bag was discovered, slowly swaying in 
the breeze, among the bushes, the frightened 
Jerseymen thought they had come upon an 
elephant, or, maybe, a survivor of the masto- 
dons. This made more advertising of the very 
best kind for the clothing store, the kind that 
excites interested, complimentary talk. 


Genius consists in taking advantage of op- 


How They Succeeded 

portunities quite as much as in making them. 
Here was a young man doing things in an ad- 
vertising way regardless of the custom of the 
business world, and with a wonderful knowl- 
edge of human nature. He took common-sense 
advantage of opportunities that were open to 

Soon after the balloon experience, tally-ho 
coaching began to be a Philadelphia fad of the 
very exclusives. Immediately afterwards a 
crack coach was secured, and six large and 
spirited horses were used instead of four, and 
Oak Hall employees, dressed in the style of the 
most ultra coaching set, traversed the country 
in every direction, scattering advertising matter 
to the music of the horn. Sometimes they 
would be a week on a trip. No wonder Oak 
Hall flourished. It was kept in the very front 
of the procession all the time. 

A little later, in the yachting season, the 
whole town was attracted and amused by pro- 
cessions and scatterings of men, each wearing 
a wire body frame that supported a thin staff 
from which waved a wooden burgee, or 
pointed flag reminding them of Oak Hall. 
Nearly two hundred of these prototypes of the 
" Sandwich man " were often out at one time. 


John V/anamaker 

But it was not only in the quick catching of 
a novel advertising thought that the new house 
was making history; in newspaper advertising, 
it was even urther in advance. The statements 
of store nev s were crisp and unhackneyed, and 
the first ar istic illustrations ever put into ad- 
vertisemen-8 were used there. So high was 
the grade jf this picture-work that art schools 
regularly clipped the illustrations as models; 
and the world-famous Shakespearian scholar, 
Dr. Horace Howard Furness, treasured the 
original sketches of " The Seven Ages " as 
among the most interesting in his unique collec- 


" The chief reason, " said Mr. Wanamaker 
upon one occasion, " that everybody is not suc- 
cessful is the fact that they have not enough 
persistency. I always advise young men who 
write me on the subject to do one thing well, 
throwing all their energies into it." 

To his employees he once said : " We are 
very foolish people if we shut our ears and eyes 
to what other people are doing. I often pick 
up things from strangers. As you go along, 
pick up suggestions here and there, jot them 


How They Succeeded 

down and send them along. Even writing them 
down helps to concentrate your mind on that 
part of the work. You need not be afraid of 
overstepping the mark. The more we push 
each other, the better. " 


In reply to this question when asked, he re- 
plied : " To thinking, toiling, trying, and 
trusting in God. " 

A serene confidence in a guiding power has 
always been one of the Wanamaker characteris- 
tics. He ;s always calm. Under the greatest 
stress he never loses his head. 

In one physical particular, Mr. Wanamaker 
is very remarkable. He can work continually 
for a long time without sleep and without evi- 
dence of strain, and make up for it by a good 
rest afterwards. 

When upon one occasion he was asked to 
name the essentials of success, he replied, 
curtly : " I might write a volume trying to 
tell you how to succeed. One way is to not be 
above taking a hint from a master. I don't 
care to tell why I succeeded; because I object 
to talking about myself, it isn't modest. " 

1 2O 

John Wanamaker 

A feature of his make-up that has contrib- 
uted largely to his success is his ability to con- 
centrate his thoughts. No matter how trivial 
the subject brought before him, he takes it up 
with the appearance of one who has nothing 
else on his mind. 


When asked whether the small tradesmen 
has any " show " to-day against the great de- 
partment stores, he said : 

"All of the great stores were small at one time. 
Small stores will keep on developing into big 
ones. You wouldn't expect a man to put an 
iron band about his business in order to pre- 
vent expansion, would you? There are, ac- 
cording to statistics, a greater number of pros- 
perous small stores in the city than ever before. 
What better proof do you want? 

" The department store is a natural product, 
evolved from conditions that exist as a result 
of fixed trade laws. Executive capacity, com- 
bined with command of capital, finds oppor- 
tunity in these conditions, which are harmoni- 
ous with the irresistible determination of the 
producer to meet the consumer directly, and 
of merchandise to find distribution along the 


How They Succeeded 

lines of least resistance. Reduced prices stimu- 
late consumption, and increase employment; 
and it is sound opinion that the increased em- 
ployment created by the department stores goes 
to women without curtailing that of men. In 
general it may be stated that large retail stores 
have shortened the hours of labor; and by 
systematic discipline have made it lighter. The 
small store is harder upon the sales-person and 
clerk. The effects upon the character and 
capacity of the employees are good. A well 
ordered, modern retail store is the means of 
education in spelling, writing, English lan- 
guage, system and method. Thus it becomes 
to the ambitious and serious employees, in a 
small way, a university, in which character is 
broadened by intelligent instruction practically 
applied. " 

When asked if a man with means but no 
experience would be safe in embarking in a 
mercantile business, he replied quickly: 

" A man can't drive a horse who has never 
seen one. No; a man must have training, must 
know how to buy and sell; only experience 
teaches that. " 

I have heard people marvel at the unbroken 
upward course of Mr. Wanamaker's career, 


John Wanamaker 

and lament that they so often make mistakes. 
But hear him : 

" Who does not make mistakes ? Why, if I 
were to think only of the mistakes I have made, 
I should be miserable indeed. " 

I have heard it said a hundred times that Mr. 
Wanamaker started when success was easy. 
Here is what he says himself about it : 

" I think I could succeed as well now as in the 
past. It seems to me that the conditions of to- 
day are even more favorable to success than 
when I was a boy. There are better facilities 
for doing business, and more business to be 
done. Information in the shape of books and 
newspapers is now in the reach of all, and the 
young man has two opportunities where he 
formerly had one. 

" We are much more afraid of combinations 
of capital than we have any reason for being. 
Competition regulates everything of that kind. 
No organization can make immense profits for 
any length of time without its field soon swarm- 
ing with competitors. It requires brain and 
muscle to manage any kind of business, and 
the same elements which have produced busi- 
ness success in the past will produce it now, and 
will always produce it." 


How They Succeeded 


With the exception of his term of service as 
postmaster-general of the United States in 
President Harrison's cabinet a service which 
was marked by great executive ability and the 
institution of many reforms, Mr. Wanamaker 
has devoted his attention almost entirely to his 
business and his church work. 

Yet as a citizen he has always taken a most 
positive course in opposition to the evils that 
threaten society. He has been forever 
prompted by his religious convictions to pursue 
vice either in the " dive, " or in municipal, state 
or national life. He hates a barroom, but he 
hates a treasury looter far more fiercely. His 
idea of Christian duty was evidently derived 
from the scene wherein the Master took a 
scourge and drove the corrupt traders and 
office-holders out of the temple. It is vigorous, 
it is militant; but it makes enemies. Conse- 
quently, Mr. Wanamaker is not without per- 
sistent maligners; getting himself well hated by 
the worst men in the community. 


Mr. Wanamaker's views of what life is for 


John Wanamaker 

are well expressed in the following excerpt 
from one of his addresses to young men. 

In the course of his address, he related that 
he was once called upon to invest in 
an expedition to recover Spanish mahogany 
and doubloons from the Spanish Main, 
which, for half a century, had lain under 
the rolling waves in sunken frigates. " But, 
young men," he continued, " I know of bet- 
ter expeditions than this right at home, deep 
down under the sea of neglect and ignorance 
and discouragement. Near your own feet lie 
treasures untold, and you can have them all 
for your own by earnest watch and faithful 
study and proper care. 

" Let us not be content to mine the most coal, 
make the largest locomotives and weave the 
largest quantities of carpets; but, amid the 
sounds of the pick, the blows of the hammer, 
the rattle of the looms, and the roar of the ma- 
chinery, take care that the immortal mecha- 
nism of God's own hand, the mind, is still 
full-trained for the highest and noblest service. 

" This is the most enduring kind of property 
to acquire, a property of soul which no disaster 
can wreck or ruin. Whatever may be the 
changes that shall sweep over our fair land, no 


How They Succeeded 

power can ever take away from you your in- 
vestments in knowledge." 


Like all other magnetic and forceful men, 
Mr. Wanamaker is striking in appearance, 
strong rather than handsome. He has a full, 
round head, a broad forehead, a strong nose, 
heavy-lidded eyes that flash with energy, heavy 
jaws that denote strength of will, and tightly 
closed lips that just droop at the corners, giving 
an ever-present touch of sedateness. His face 
is as smooth as a boy's and as mobile as an 
actor's; and, when lighted up in discussion, it 
beams with expression. He wears a hat that 
is only six and seven-eighths in size, but is al- 
most completely circular in form. He is al- 
most six feet tall and finely built, and all his 
motions have in them the springiness of health. 
Nobody ever saw him dressed in any other 
color than black, with a black necktie under 
a " turn-down " collar. But he always looks 
as trim as if he were just out of the hands of 
both tailor and barber. 

It is his delight to pass much time at his 
country seat in Jenkintown. He is fond of the 
field and the river, the trees and flowers, and 


John Wanamaker 

all the growths with which God has beautified 
the earth. His house is a home-like structure, 
with wide piazzas, standing upon the crest of a 
hill in the midst of a noble lawn. A big rosery 
and orchid house stand near by. The before- 
breakfast ramble of the proprietor is finished 
in the flower garden, and every guest is laden 
with floral trophies. 

Mr. Wanamaker was married, while he was 
the Secretary of the Y. M. C. A., to one whom 
he met at a church service, and who has been in 
full sympathy with his religious activities. He 
has been for forty years superintendent of the 
Bethany Sunday School in Philadelphia. He 
began with two teachers and twenty-seven 
pupils; and at the recent anniversary reported 
a school of 4,500, a church with 3, 700 members, 
500 having been added during the past year, 
several branches, and scores of department or- 

John Wanamaker says to-day that his busi- 
ness success is due to his religious training. 
He is first of all a Christian. 

The lesson of such a life should be precious 
to every young man. It teaches the value of 
untiring effort, of economy, of common sense 
applied to common business. I know of no 


How They Succeeded 

career in this country that offers more encour- 
agement to young people. It shows what per- 
sistency can do; it shows what intelligent, well- 
directed, tireless effort can do; and it proves 
that a man may devote himself to helping 
others, to the Sunday School, to the Church, to 
broad philanthropy, and still be wonderfully 
successful in a business way. 


vni / |-; j :;". :;; : ;; 

Giving up Five Thousand Dol- 
lars a Year to Become a 

"~ Y life?" queried F. Wellington 


Ruckstuhl, one of the foremost 
sculptors of America, as we sat in 
his studio looking up at his huge figure of 
"Force." "When did I begin to sculpture? 
As a child I was forever whittling, but I did 
not have dreams then of becoming a sculptor. 
It was not till I was thirty-two years of age. 
And love, disappointment in my first love 
played a prominent part." 

" But as a boy, Mr. Ruckstuhl? " 

" I was a poet. Every sculptor or artist is 
necessarily a poet. I was always reaching out 
and seeking the beautiful. My father was a 
foreman in a St. Louis machine shop. He 
came to this country in a sailing ship from 


How They Succeeded 

Alsace, by way of the Gulf to St. Louis, when 
I was but six years old. He was a very pious 
man and a deacon in a church. One time, 
Moody and Sankey came to town, and my 
father made me attend the meetings; I think 
he hoped that I would become a minister. Be- 
tween the ages of fourteen and nineteen, I 
worked in a photographic supply store; wrote 
one hundred poems, and read incessantly. I 
enlarged a view of the statue of Nelson in 
Trafalgar Square, London, into a ' plaster 
sketch/ ten times as large as the picture, but 
still I did not know my path. I began the study 
of philosophy, and kept up my reading for ten 
years. My friends thought I would become a 
literary man. I wrote for the papers, and be- 
longed to a prominent literary club. I tried to 
analyze myself. ' I am a man, ' I said, ' but 
what am I good for? What am I to make of 
this life ? ' I drifted from one position to an- 
other. Every one was sorry to part with my 
services, for I always did my duties as well as 
they could be done. When I was twenty-five 
years of age, the girl to whom I was attached 
was forced by her mother to marry a wealthy 
man. She died a year afterwards; and I 
' pulled up stakes, ' and started on a haphazard, 


F. Wellington Ruckstuhl 

reckless career. I went to Colorado, drifted 
into Arizona, prospected, mined, and worked 
on a ranch. I went to California, and at one 
time thought of shipping for China. My ex- 
periences would fill a book. Again I reached 
St. Louis. For a year, I could not find a thing 
to do, and became desperate. " 

" And you had done nothing at art so f ar ? " 
I asked. 

" At that time, I saw a clay sketch. I said 
to myself, ' I can do as well as that, ' and I 
copied it. My second sketch admitted me to 
the St. Louis Sketch Club. I told my friends 
that I would be a sculptor. They laughed 
and ridiculed me. I had secured a position 
in a store, and at odd times worked at 
what I had always loved, but had only 
half realized it. Notices appeared in the 
papers about me, for I was popular in the 
community. I entered the competition for a 
statue of General Frank R. Blair. I received 
the first prize, but when the committee discov- 
ered that I was only a bill clerk in a store, they 
argued that I was not competent to carry out 
the work; although I was given the first prize 
model and the one hundred and fifty dollars ac- 
companying it. " 

How They Succeeded 

"But that inspired you?" 

* Yes, but my father and mother put every 
obstacle in the way possible. I was driven 
from room to room. I was not even allowed to 
work in the attic. " Here Mr. Ruckstuhl 
laughed. " You see what genius has to con- 
tend with. I was advanced in position in the 
store, till I became assistant manager, at two 
thousand dollars a year. When I told the 
proprietor that I had decided to be a sculptor, 
he gazed at me in blank astonishment. ' A 
sculptor ? ' he queried, incredulously, and made 
a few very discouraging remarks, emphasized 
with dashes. ' Why, young man, are you 
going to throw up the chance of a lifetime? I 
will give you five thousand dollars a year, and 
promote you to be manager if you will remain 
with me. ' 

" But I had found my life's work, " said Mr. 
Ruckstuhl, turning to me. "I knew it would 
be a struggle through poverty, till I attained 
fame. But I was confident in myself, which is 
half of the battle. " 

"And you went abroad?" 

" Yes, with but two hundred and fifty 
dollars," he replied. " I traveled through 
Europe for five months and visited the French 


F. Wellington Ruckstuhl 

Salon. I said to myself, ' I can do that, and 
that; ' and my confidence grew. But there was 
some work that completely ' beat ' me. I re- 
turned to America penniless, but with a greater 
insight into art. I determined that I would re- 
trace my steps to Paris, and study there for 
three years, and thought that would be suf- 
ficient to fully develop me. My family and 
friends laughed me to scorn, and I was dis- 
couraged by everyone. In four months, in St. 
Louis, I secured seven orders for busts, at two 
hundred dollars each, to be done after my re- 
turn from France. That shows that some per- 
sons had confidence in me and in my talent. , 

" O, the student life in Paris ! How I look 
back with pleasure upon those struggling, yet 
happy days! In two months, I started on my 
female figure of ' Evening, ' in the nude, that 
is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I 
finished it in nine months, and positively sweat 
blood in my work. I sent it to the Salon, and 
went to Italy. When I returned to Paris, I 
saw my name in the paper with honorable men- 
tion. I suppose you can realize my feelings; I 
experienced the first flush of victory. I brought 
it to America, and exposed it in St. Louis. 
Strange to say, I rose in the estimation of even 


How They Succeeded 

my family. My father actually congratulated 
me. A wealthy man in St. Louis gave me 
three thousand dollars to have my ' Evening ' 
put into marble. I returned with it to Paris, 
and in a month and a quarter it was exhibited 
in the Salon. At the World's Fair, at Chicago, 
it had the place of honor, and received one of 
the eleven grand medals given to American 
sculptors. In 1892, I came to New York. 
This statue of ' Force ' will be erected, with 
my statue of ' Wisdom, ' on the new Court of 
Appeals in New York. " 

We gazed at it, seated, and clothed in partial 
armor, of the old Roman type, and holding a 
sword across its knees. The great muscles 
spoke of strength and force, and yet, with it 
all, there was an almost benign look upon the 
military visage. 

" There is force and real action there withal, 
although there is repose." I said in admira- 

" Oh," said Mr. Ruckstuhl, " that's it, and 
that is what it is so hard to get ! That is what 
every sculptor strives for; and, unless he at- 
tains it, his work, from my point of view, is 
worthless. There must be life in a statue; it 


F. Wellington Ruckstuhl 

must almost breathe. In repose there must be 
dormant action that speaks for itself." 

" Is most of your work done under inspira- 
tion?" I asked. 

" There is nothing, and a great deal, in 
so-called inspiration. I firmly believe that we 
mortals are merely tools, mediums, at work 
here on earth. I peg away, and bend all my 
energies to my task. I simply accomplish 
nothing. Suddenly, after considerable pre- 
paratory toil, the mist clears away; I see things 
clearly; everything is outlined for me. I be- 
lieve there is a conscious and a sub-conscious 
mind. The sub-conscious mind is the one that 
does original work; it cannot be affected by the 
mind that is conscious to all our petty environ- 
ments. When the conscious mind is lulled and 
silenced, the sub-conscious one begins to work. 
That I call inspiration." 

"Are you ever discouraged?" I asked out 
of curiosity. 

" Continually," replied Mr. Ruckstuhl, look- 
ing down at his hands, soiled with the working 
clay. " Some days I will be satisfied with what 
I have done. It will strike me as simply fine. 
I will be as happy as a bird, and leave simply 


How They Succeeded 

joyous. The following morning, when the 
cloths are removed, I look at my previous toil, 
and consider it vile. I ask myself : * Are you 
a sculptor or not ? Do you think that you ever 
will be one ? Do you consider that art ? ' So 
it is, till your task is accomplished. You are 
your own critic, and are continually distressed 
at your inability to create your ideals." 

Mr. F. Wellington Ruckstuhl is forty-six 
years of age; neither short nor tall; a brilliant 
man, with wonderful powers of endurance, for 
his work is more exacting and tedious than is 
generally supposed. 

" I have simply worked a month and a quar- 
ter on that statue/' he said. " Certain work 
dissatisfied me, and I obliterated it. I have 
raised that head three times. My eyes get 
weary, and I become physically tired. On such 
occasions I sit down and smoke a little to dis- 
tract my thoughts, and to clear my mind. 
Then my sub-conscious mind comes into play 
again," he concluded with a smile. 

Mr. Ruckstuhl's best known works are: 
" Mercury Teasing the Eagle of Jupiter," 
which is of bronze, nine feet high, which he 
made in Paris; a seven-foot statue of Solon, 
erected in the Congressional Library, at Wash- 


F. Wellington Ruckstuhl 

ington; busts of Franklin, Goethe and Ma- 
caulay, on the front of the same library; and 
the eleven-foot statue of bronze of " Victory," 
for the Jamaica soldiers' and sailors' monu- 
ment. In competition, he won the contract for 
an equestrian statue of General John F. Hart- 
rauft, ex-Governor of Pennsylvania, which he 
also made in Paris. It is considered the finest 
piece of work of its kind in America. Besides 
this labor, he has made a number of medallions 
and busts; and with the completion of his 
statue of " Force/' he will have made a won- 
derful record. 

" Art was in me as a child," he said : " I 
was discouraged whenever it beckoned me, but 
finally claimed me. I surrendered a good posi- 
tion to follow it, whether it led through a 
thorny road or not. A sculptor is an artist, a 
musician, a poet, a writer, a dramatist, to 
throw action, breath and life, music and a soul 
into his creation. I can pick up an instrument 
and learn it instantly; I can sing, and act, so 
I am in touch with the sympathies of the beings 
that I endeavor to create. You will find most 
sculptors and artists of my composite nature. 

"There," said Mr. Ruckstuhl, and he 
stretched out his arm, with his palm down- 


How They Succeeded 

ward, and moved it through the air, as he 
gazed into distance, " you strive to create the 
imagination of your mind, and it comes to 
you as if sent from another world." 

" You strive.'* That is the way to success. 


IX .:'.<-:: && 

Questions and Answers: Busi- 
ness Pointers by Darius Og- 
den Mills 

HAT is your idea, Mr. Mills, 1 of a 
successful life?" "If a boot- 
black does all the good he pos- 
sibly oan for his fellow-men, his life has been 
just as successful as that of the millionaire 
who helps thousands." 


" What, Mr. Mills, do you consider the key- 
note of success ? " 

" Work," he replied, quickly and emphati- 
cally. " Work develops all the good there is in 
a man ; idleness all the evil. Work sharpens all 

1 Mr. Mills was born in Western New York in 1825. 
He has been a leading financier for fifty years, in Cali- 
fornia, and in New York. He is connected with the 
management of eighteen important business and philan- 
thropic corporations in New York city. 

How They Succeeded 

his faculties and makes him thrifty; idleness 
makes him lazy and a spendthrift. Work sur- 
rounds a man with those whose habits are in- 
dustrious and honest; in such society a weak 
man develops strength, and a strong man is 
made stronger. Idleness, on the other hand, is 
apt to throw a man into the company of men 
whose object in life is usually the pursuit of un- 
wholesome and demoralizing diversions." 


"To what formative influence do you at- 
tribute your material success, Mr. Mills ? " I 

" I was taught very early that I would have 
to depend entirely upon myself ; that my future 
lay in my own hands. I had that for a start, 
and it was a good one. I didn't waste any 
time thinking about succession to wealth, which 
so often acts as a drag upon young men. Many 
persons waste the best years of their lives wait- 
ing for dead men's shoes; and, when they get 
them, find them entirely too big to wear grace- 
fully, simply because they have not developed 
themselves to wear them. 

" As a rule, the small inheritance, which, to 
a boy, would seem large, has a tendency to 


Darius Ogden Mills 

lessen his efforts, and is a great damage to him 
in the way of acquiring the habits necessary 
to success. 


" No one can acquire a fortune unless he 
makes a start ; and the habit of thrift, which he 
learns in saving his first hundred dollars, is of 
inestimable value later on. It is not the money, 
but the habit which counts. 

" There is no one so helpless as a man who 
is ' broke/ no matter how capable he may be, 
and there is no habit so detrimental to his repu- 
tation among business men as that of borrow- 
ing small sums of money. This cannot be too 
emphatically impressed upon young men. 


"Another thing is that none but the 
wealthy, and very few of them, can afford the 
indulgence of expensive habits; how much less 
then can a man with only a few dollars in his 
pocket? More young men are ruined by the 
expense of smoking than in any other way. 
The money thus laid out would make them in- 
dependent, in many cases, or at least would 
give them a good start. A young man should 


How They Succeeded 

be warned by the melancholy example of those 
who have been ruined by smoke, and avoid it." 


" What marked traits/' Mr. Mills, " have the 
influential men with whom you have been asso- 
ciated, possessed, which most impressed you ? " 

" A habit of thinking and acting for them- 
selves. No end of people are ruined by taking 
the advice of others. This may answer tem- 
porarily, but in the long run it is sure to be dis- 
astrous. Any man who hasn't ability to judge 
for himself would better get a comfortable 
clerkship somewhere, letting some one of more 
ambition and ability do the thinking necessary 
to run the business." 


" Are the opportunities for making money 
as numerous to-day as they were when you 
started in business ? " 

" Yes, the progress of science and invention 
has increased the opportunities a thousandfold, 
and a man can find them wherever he seeks 
them in the United States in particular. It has 

I 4 2 

Darius Ogden Mills 

caused the field of employment of labor of all 
kinds to expand enormously, thus creating op- 
portunities which never existed before. It is 
no longer necessary for a man to go to foreign 
countries or distant parts of his own country 
to make money. Opportunities come to him 
in every quarter. There is hardly a point in 
the country so obscure that it has not felt the 
revolutionizing influence of commercial enter- 
prise. Probably railroads and electricity are 
the chief instruments in this respect. Other in- 
dustries follow closely in their wake." 


" In what part of the country do you think 
the best chances for young men may be 

" The best place for a young man to make 
money is the town in which he was born and 
educated. There he learns all about everybody, 
and everybody learns about him. This is to 
his advantage if he bears a good character, and 
to the advantage of his towns-people if he bears 
a bad one. While a young man is growing up, 
he unconsciously absorbs a vast deal of knowl- 
edge of people and affairs, which would be 


How They Succeeded 

equal to money if he only has the judgment to 
avail himself of it. A knowledge of men is the 
prime secret of business success. Upon reflec- 
tion, how absurd it is for a man to leave a town 
where he knows everything and everybody, and 
go to some distant point where he doesn't know 
anything about anybody or anything, and ex- 
pect to begin on an equal footing with the peo- 
ple there who are thoroughly acquainted." 


" What lesson," Mr. Mills, " do you consider 
it most needful for young men to learn ? " 

" The lesson of humility ; not in the sense 
of being servile or undignified, but in that of 
paying due respect to men who are their su- 
periors in the way of experience, knowledge 
and position. Such a lesson is akin to that of 
discipline. Members of the royal families of 
Europe are put in subordinate positions in the 
navies or armies of their respective countries, 
in order that they may receive the training 
necessary to qualify them to take command. 
They must first know how to obey, if they 
would control others. 

" In this country, it is customary for the 
sons of the presidents of great railroads, or 


Darius Ogden Mills 

other companies, to begin at the bottom of the 
ladder and work their way up step by step, just 
the same as any other boy in the employ of the 
corporation. This course has become impera- 
tively necessary in the United States, where each 
great business has become a profession in itself. 
Most of the big machine shops number among 
their employees, scions of old families who 
carry dinner pails, and work with files or lathes, 
the same as anyone else. Such shoulder-to- 
shoulder experience is invaluable to a man who 
is destined to command, because he not only 
masters the trade technically, but learns all 
about the men he works with and qualifies him- 
self to grapple with labor questions which may 

" There is no end of conspicuous examples 
of the wisdom of this system in America. There 
are also many instances of disaster to great in- 
dustrial concerns due to the inexperience or the 
lack of tact of men placed suddenly in control." 


Upon this point, Mr. Mills said : " A man 
can, in the accumulation of a fortune, be just as 
great a benefactor of mankind as in the distri- 
bution of it. In organizing a great industry, 


How They Succeeded 

one opens up fields of employment for a multi- 
tude of people who might otherwise be prac- 
tically helpless, giving them not only a chance 
to earn a living for themselves and their fam- 
ilies, but also to lay by a competency for old 
age. All honest, sober men, if they have half a 
chance, can do that ; but only a small percentage 
can ever become rich. Now the rich man, hav- 
ing acquired his wealth, knows better how to 
manage it than those under him would, and 
having actual possession, he has the power to 
hold the community of his employees and their 
interests together, and prevent disintegration, 
which means disaster so much oftener to the 
employee than to the employer." 


" What is the responsibility of wealth, Mr. 

"A man must learn not to think too much of 
money. It should be considered as a means 
and not an end ; and the love for it should never 
be permitted to so warp a man's mind as to 
destroy his interest in progressive ideas. Mak- 
ing money is an education, and the wide ex- 
perience thus acquired teaches a man discrim- 


Darius Ogden Mills 

ination in both men and projects, where money 
is under consideration. Very few men who 
make their own money use it carelessly. Most 
good projects that fail owe their failure to bad 
business management, rather than to lack of in- 
trinsic merit. An inventor may have a very 
good thing, and plenty of capital may be en- 
listed but if a man not acquainted with the 
peculiar line, or one who is not a good sales- 
man or financier be employed as manager, the 
result is disastrous. A man should spend his 
money in a way that tends to advance the best 
interests of society in the country he lives in, 
or in his own neighborhood at least. There is 
only one thing that is a greater harm to the 
community than a rich spendthrift, and that is 
a miser." 


" How did you happen to establish the sys- 
tem of hotels which bears your name, Mr. 

" I had been looking around for several years 
to find something to do that would be for the 
good of the community. My mind was largely 
on other matters, but it occurred to me that the 
hotel project was the best, and I immediately 


How They Succeeded 

went to work at it. My purpose was to do the 
work on so large a scale that it would be appre- 
ciated and spread all over the country; for as 
the sources of education extend, we find more 
and more need of assisting men who have a 
disposition for decency and good citizenship. 
The mechanic is well paid, and the man who 
has learned to labor is much more independent 
than he who is prepared for a profession or a 
scientific career, or other objects in life that call 
for higher education. Clerks commencing at 
small salaries need good surroundings and 
economy to give themselves a start. Such are 
the men for whom the hotels were established." 


Nordica: What it Costs to Be- 
come a Queen of Song 

OF the internationally famous singers, 
none is a greater favorite than Ma- 
dame Lillian Nordica. She has had 
honors heaped upon her by every music-loving 
country. Milan, St. Petersburg, Paris, London 
and New York, in turn accepted her. Jewel 
cases filled with bracelets, necklaces, tiaras and 
diadems, of gold and precious stones, attest the 
unaffected sincerity of her admirers in all the 
great music-centers of the world. She enjoys, 
in addition, the distinction of being one of the 
first two American women to attain to inter- 
national fame as a singer in grand opera. 

Madame Nordica I met on appointment at 
the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where she kindly 
detailed for me 


How They Succeeded 


she encountered at the outset : " Distinction 
in the field of art is earned : it is not thrust upon 
anyone. The material for a great voice may 
be born in a person it is, in fact, but the 
making of it into a great voice is a work of the 
most laborious character. 

" In some countries the atmosphere is not 
very favorable to beginners. Almost any of the 
greater European nations is probably better in 
this respect than the United States: not much 
better, however, because nearly all depends 
upon strength of character, determination, and 
the will to work. If a girl has these, she will 
rise as high, in the end, anywhere." 

Madame Nordica came of New England 
stock, being born at Farmington, Maine, and 
reared in Boston. Her parents, bearing the 
name Norton, possessed no musical talent. 
" Their opinion of music," said Madame, " was 
that it is an airy, inviting art of the devil, used 
to tempt men's feet to stray from the solemn 
path of right. They believed music, as a voca- 
tion, to be nearly as reprehensible as a stage 
career, and for the latter they had no tolerance 
whatever. I must be just, though, and own 


Madame Lillian Nordica 

that they did make an exception in the case of 
church music, else I should never have received 
the slightest encouragement in my aspirations. 
They considered music in churches to be per- 
missible, even laudable, so when I displayed 
some ability as a singer, I was allowed to use 
it in behalf of religion, and I did. I joined the 
church choir and sang hymns about the house 
almost constantly. 

" But I needed a world of training. I 
had no conception of what work lay ahead of 
anyone who contemplates singing perfectly. I 
had no idea of how high I might go myself. All 
I knew was that I could sing, and that I would 
win my way with my voice if I could." 

" How did you accomplish it? " 

" By devoting all my time, all my thought, 
and all my energy to that one object. I devoured 
church music, all I could get hold of. I prac- 
tised new and difficult compositions all the time 
I could spare. 

" I became a very good church singer ; so 
much so that when there were church concerts 
or important religious ceremonies, I was al- 
ways in demand. Then there began to be a 
social demand for my ability, and, later, a pub- 
lic demand in the way of concerts. 

'5 1 

How They Succeeded 

" At first, I ignored all but church singing. 
My ambition ran higher than concert singing, 
and I knew my parents would not consent. I 
persuaded them to let me have my voice trained. 
This was not very difficult, because my church 
singing, as it had improved, became a source 
of considerable profit; and they saw even 
greater results for me in the large churches, and 
in the religious field. So I went to a teacher of 
vocal culture, Professor John O'Neill, one of 
the instructors in the New England Conserva- 
tory of Music, Boston. He was a fine old 
teacher, a man with the highest ideals concern- 
ing music, and of the sternest and most exact- 
ing method. He made me feel, at first, that 


Hard work was his constant cry. There must 
be no play, no training for lower forms of pub- 
lic entertainment, no anything but study and 
practice. I must work and perfect myself in 
private, and then suddenly appear unheralded 
in the highest class of opera and take the world 
by storm. 

" It was a fine fancy, but it would not have 
been possible. O'Neill was a fine musician. Un- 
der him I studied the physiology of the voice, 


Madame Lillian Nordica 

and practiced singing oratorios. I also took up 
Italian, familiarizing myself with the language, 
with all the songs and endless arias. In fact, I 
made myself as perfect in Italian as possible. In 
three years I had been greatly improved. Mr. 
O'Neill, however, employed methods of mak- 
ing me work which discouraged me. He was 
a man who would magnify and storm over the 
slightest error, and make light of or ignore the 
sincerest achievements. He put his grade of 
perfection so high that I began to consider it 
unattainable, and lost heart. Finally, I gave 
it up and rested awhile, uncertain of everything. 
" After I had thought awhile and regained 
some confidence, I came to New York to see 
Mme. Maretzek. She was not only a teacher, 
but also a singer quite famous in her day, and 
she thoroughly knew the world of music. She 
considered my voice to be of the right qual- 
ity for the highest grade of operatic success; 
and gave me hope that, with a little more train- 
ing, I could begin my career. She not only 
did that, but also set me to studying the great 
operas, ' Lucia ' and the others, and intro- 
duced me to the American musical celebrities. 
Together we heard whatever was worth hear- 
ing in New York. 


How They Succeeded 

" When the renowned Brignola came to New 
York, she took me to the Everett House, where 
he was stopping and introduced me. They 
were good friends, and, after gaining his opin- 
ion on the character of my voice, she had him 
play ' Faust/ That was a wonderful thing for 
me. To hear the great Brignola ! It fired my 
ambition. As I listened I felt that I could also 
be great and that people, some day, might listen 
to me as enraptured as I then was by him. 


and caused me to fairly toil over my studies. I 
would have given up all my hours if only I had 
been allowed or requested. 

" So it went, until after several years of 
study, Madame Maretzek thought I was get- 
ting pretty well along and might venture some 
important public singing. We talked about dif- 
ferent ways of appearing and what I would 
sing, and so on, until finally Gilmore's band 
came to Madison Square Garden. He was in 
the heyday of his success then, and carried im- 
portant soloists with him. Madame Maretzek 
decided that she would take me to see him and 
get his opinion; and so, one day, toward the 
very last of his Madison Square engagement, 

Madame Lillian Nordica 

we went to see him. Madame Maretzek was 
on good terms with him also. I remember that 
she took me in, one morning, when he was re- 
hearsing. I saw a stout, kindly, genial-looking 
man who was engaged in tapping for attention, 
calling certain individuals to notice certain 
points, and generally fluttering around over a 
dozen odds and ends. Madame Maretzek 
talked with him a little while and then called 
his attention to me. He looked toward me. 

" ' Thinks she can sing, eh? Yes, yes. Well, 
all right ! Let her come right along.' 

" Then he called to me, ' Come right along 
now. Step right up here on the stage. Yes, yes. 
Now, what can you sing ? ' 

" I told him I could sing almost anything in 
oratorio or opera, if he so wished. He said: 
* Well, well, have a little from both. Now, 
what shall it be?' 

" I shall never forget his kindly way. He 
was like a good father, gentle and reassuring, 
and seemed really pleased to have me there and 
to hear me. I went up on the platform and told 
him that I would begin with ' Let the Bright 
Seraphim/ and he called the orchestra to order 
and had them accompany me." 

" I was slightly nervous at first, but recov- 


How They Succeeded 

ered my equanimity and sang up to my full 
limit of power. When I was through, he re- 
marked, ' Very good ! very good ! ' and ' Now, 
what else ? ' I next sang an aria from ' Som- 
nambula.' He did not hesitate to express his 
approval, which was always, ' Very good ! very 
good ! Now, what you want to do,' he said, ' is 
to get some roses in your cheeks, and come 
along and sing for me.' After that, he con- 
tinued his conference with Madame Maretzek 
and then we went away together. 


when I left, I can assure you. His company 
was famous. Its engagement had been most 
successful. Madame Poppenheim was singing 
with it, and there were other famous names. 
There were only two more concerts to conclude 
his New York engagement, but he had told 
Madame Maretzek that if I chose to come and 
sing on these occasions, he would be glad to 
have me. I was more than glad of the oppor- 
tunity and agreed to go. We arranged with 
him by letter, and, when the evening came, I 
sang. My work made a distinct impression on 
the audience, and pleased Mr. Gilmore wonder- 
fully. After the second night, when all was 


Madame Lillian Nordica 

over, he came to me, and said : ' Now, my 
dear, of course there is no more concert this 
summer, but I am going West in the fall. Now, 
how would you like to go along ? ' 

" I told him that I would like to go very 
much, if it could be arranged; and, after some 
negotiation, he agreed to pay the expenses of 
my mother and myself, and give me one hun- 
dred dollars a week besides. I accepted, and 
when the western tour began, we went along. 

" I gained thorough control of my nerves 
upon that tour, and learned something of audi- 
ences, and of what constitutes distinguished 
1 stage presence.' / studied all the time, and, 
with the broadening influence of travel, gained 
a great deal. At the end of the tour, my voice 
was more under my control than ever before, 
and I was a better singer all around." 

" You did not begin with grand opera, after 

" No, I did not. It was not a perfect con- 
clusion of my dreams, but it was a great deal. 
My old instructor, Mr. O'Neill, took it worse 
than I did. He regarded my ambitions as hav- 
ing all come to naught. I remember that he 
wrote me a letter in which he thus called me to 
account : 

How They Succeeded 

" l After all my training, my advice, that you 
should come to this! A whole lifetime of am- 
bition and years of the hardest study consumed 
to fit you to go on the road with a brass band ! 

" I pocketed the sarcasm in the best of hu- 
mor, because I was sure of my dear old teach- 
er's unwavering faith in me, and knew that he 
wrote only for my own good. Still, I felt that 
I was doing wisely in getting before the public, 
and so decided to wait quietly and see if time 
would not justify me. 

" When the season was over, Mr. Gilmore 
came to me again. He was the most kindly 
man I ever knew. His manner was as gentle 
and his heart as good as could be. 

" ' I am going to Europe/ he said. ' I am go- 
ing to London and Paris and Vienna and 
Rome, and all the other big cities. There will 
be a fine chance for you to see all those places 
and let Europeans hear you. They appreciate 
good singers. Now, little girl, do you want to 
come? If you do, you can/" 

" I talked it over with my mother and Ma- 
dame Maretzek, and decided to go ; and so, the 
next season, we were 


Madame Lillian Nordica 


"We gave seventy-eight concerts in Eng- 
land and France. We opened the Trocadero at 
Paris, and mine was the first voice of any kind 
to sing there. This European tour of the 
American band was a great and successful ven- 
ture. American musicians still recall the furore 
which it created, and the prestige which it 
gained at home. Mr. Gilmore was proud of his 
leading soloists. In Paris, where the great au- 
diences went wild over my singing, he came to 
praise me personally in unmeasured terms. ' My 
dear,' he said, ' you are going to be a great 
singer. You are going to be crowned in your 
own country yet. Mark my words: they are 
going to put diamonds on your brow ! ' [Ma- 
dame Nordica had good occasion to recall this, 
in 1898, many years after, when her enthusi- 
astic New York admirers crowned her with a 
diamond tiara as a tribute of their admiration 
and appreciation.] 

" It was at the time when Gilmore was at 
the height of his Paris engagement that his 
agent ran off with his funds and left the old 
bandmaster almost stranded. Despite his sin- 
cere trouble, he retained his imperturbable good 
nature, and came out of it successfully. He 

How They Succeeded 

came to me, one morning, smiling good-na- 
turedly, as usual. After greeting me and in- 
quiring after my health, he said : ' My dear 
child, you have saved some little money on this 
tour?' I told him I had. 

" ' Now, I would like to borrow that little 
from you/ 

" I was very much surprised at the request, 
for he said nothing whatever of his loss. Still, 
he had been so uniformly kind and generous, 
and had won our confidence and regard so 
wholly, that I could not hesitate. I turned over 
nearly all I had, and he gathered it up and went 
away, simply thanking me. Of course, I heard 
of the defalcation later. It became generally 
known. Our salaries went right on, how- 
however, and in a few months the whole thing 
had been quite forgotten, when he came to ,me 
one morning with money ready in his hand. 

" ' To pay you what I owe you, my dear/ he 

" ' Oh, yes ! ' I said ; ' so and so much/ 
naming the amount. 

" ' Here it is/ he said ; and, handing me a roll 
of bills, he went away. Of course, I did not 
count it until a little later; but, when I did, I 
found just double the amount I had named, 

1 60 

Madame Lillian Nordica 

and no persuasion would ever induce him to 
accept a penny of it back." 

" When did you part with Gilmore? " 
" At the end of that tour. He determined to 
return to America, and I had decided to spend 
some of my earnings on further study in Italy. 
Accordingly, I went to Milan, to the singing 
teacher San Giovanni. On arriving there, I 
visited the old teacher and stated my object. I 
said that I wanted to sing in grand opera. 


" He answered; ' let me hear your voice/ 

" I sang an aria from ' Lucia ' ; and, when I 
was through, he said, dryly : ' You want to 
sing in grand opera ? ' 

" ' Yes/ 

"'Well, why don't you?' 

" ' I need training/ 

" ' Nonsense ! ' he answered. ' We will at- 
tend to that. You need a few months to prac- 
tice Italian methods, that is all/ 

" So I spent three months with him. After 
much preparation I made my debut as Violetta 
in Verdi's opera, ' La Traviata/ at the Teatro 
Grande, in Brescia." 

The details of Madame Nordica's Italian ap- 


How They Succeeded 

pearance are very interesting. Her success was 
instantaneous. Her fame went up and down 
the land, and across the water to her home. 
She next sang in Gounod's" Faust," at Geneva, 
and soon afterwards appeared at Navarro, 
singing Alice in Meyerbeer's " Roberto," the 
enthusiastic and delighted subscribers present- 
ing her with a handsome set of rubies and 
pearls. After that, she was engaged to sing 
at the Russian capital, and accordingly went to 
St. Petersburg, where, in October, 1881, she 
made her debut as La Filma in " Mignon." 

There, also her success was great. She was 
the favorite of the society of the court, and re- 
ceived pleasant attentions from every quarter. 
Presents were made her, and inducements for 
her continued presence until two winters had 
passed. Then she decided to revisit France and 


" I wanted to sing in grand opera at Paris," 
she said to me. " I wanted to know that I could 
appear successfully in that grand place. I 
counted my achievements nothing until I could 
do that." 

"And did you?" 


Madame Lillian Nordica 

" Yes. In July, 1882, I appeared there." 

This was her greatest triumph. In the part 
of Marguerite, she took the house by storm, 
and won from the composer the highest encomi- 
ums. Subsequently, she appeared with equal 
success as Ophelie, having been specially pre- 
pared for both these roles by the respective 
composers, Charles Gounod and Ambroise 

" You should have been satisfied, after that," 
I said. 

" I was," she answered. " So thoroughly 
was I satisfied that soon afterwards I gave up 
my career, and was married. For two years, I 
remained away from the public; but after that 
time, my husband having died, I decided to 

" I made my first appearance at the Burton 
Theatre in London, and was doing well enough 
when Colonel Mapleson came to me. He was 
going to produce grand opera, in fact he was 
going to open Covent Garden, which had been 
closed for a long time, with a big company. He 
was another interesting character. I found him 
to be generous and kind-hearted and happy- 
spirited as anyone could be. When he came to 
me, it was in the most friendly manner. ' I am 


How They Succeeded 

going to open Covent Garden/ he said. ' Now, 
here is your chance to sing there. All the great 
singers have appeared there. Patti, Gerster, 
Nilsson, Tietjens; now it's your turn, come 
and sing/ 

" 'How about terms? ' I asked. 

" ' Terms ! ' he exclaimed ; ' terms ! Don't 
let such little details stand in your way. What 
is money compared to this? Ignore money. 
Think of the honor, of the memories of the 
place, of what people think of it/ And then he 
waved his arms dramatically. 

" Yet, we came to terms, not wholly sacrifi- 
cial on my part, and the season began. Covent 
Garden had not been open for a long time. It 
was in the spring of the year, cold and damp. 
There was a crowded house, though, because 
fashion accompanied the Prince of Wales there. 
He came, night after night, and heard the opera 
through with an overcoat on. 

" It was no pleasant task for me, or healthy, 
either, but the Lord has blessed me with a 
sound constitution. I sang my parts, as they 
should be sung some in bare arms and shoul- 
ders, with too little clothing for such a tempera- 
ture. I nearly froze, but it was Covent Garden 


Madame Lillian Nordica 

and a great London audience, and so I bore up 
under it. 

" Things went on this way very successfully 
until Sir Augustus Harris took Drury Lane 
and decided to produce grand opera. He started 
in opposition to Colonel Mapleson, and so Co- 
vent Garden had to be given up. Mr. Harris 
had more money, more prestige with society, 
and Colonel Mapleson could not live under the 
division of patronage. When I saw the situ- 
ation, I called on the new manager and talked 
with him concerning the next season. He was 
very proud and very condescending, and made 
sure to show his indifference to me. He told 
me all about the brilliant season he was plan- 
ning, gave me a list of the great names he in- 
tended to charm with, and wound up by saying 
he would call on me, in case of need, but 
thought he had all the celebrities he could use, 
but would let me know. 

" Of course, I did not like that; but I knew 
I could rest awhile, and so was not much dis- 
turbed. The time for the opening of the sea- 
son arrived. The papers were full of accounts 
of the occasion, and there were plenty of re- 
marks concerning my non-appearance. Then 


How They Succeeded 

' Aida ' was produced, and I read the criticisms 
of it with interest. 

"The same afternoon a message came for 
me : ' Would I come ? ' and ' Would I do so and 
so ? ' I would, and did. I sang ' Aida ' and then 
other parts, and gradually all the parts but one, 
which I had longed to try, but had not 
yet had the opportunity given to me. I was 
very successful, and Sir Augustus was very 

" The summer after that season, I visited 
Ems, where the De Reszkes were. One day 
they said : ' We are going to Beirut, to hear 
the music, don't you want to go along?' I 
thought it over, and decided that I did. My 
mother and I packed up and departed. When I 
got there and saw those splendid performances, 
I was entranced. It was perfectly beautiful. 
Everything was arranged after an ideal fash- 
ion. I had a great desire to sing there, and 
boasted to my mother that I would. When I 
came away, I was fully determined to carry it 

" Could you speak German ? " 

" Not at all. I began, though, at once, to 


Madame Lillian Nordica 

study it; and, when I could talk it sufficiently, 
I went to Beirut and saw Madame Wagner." 


" Did you find her the imperious old lady she 
is said to be?" 

" Not at all. She welcomed me most heartily ; 
and, when I told her that I had come to see if 
I could not sing there, she seemed much 
pleased. She treated me like a daughter, ex- 
plained all that she was trying to do, and gave 
me a world of encouragement. Finally, I ar- 
ranged to sing and create ' Elsa * after my own 
idea of it, during the season following the one 
then approaching. 

" Meanwhile I came to New York to fulfill 
my contract for the season of 1894-1895. 
While doing that, I made a study of Wagner's, 
and, indeed, of all German music; and, when 
the season was over, went back and sang it." 

Madame Nordica has found her work very 
exacting. For it she has needed a good phys- 
ique; her manner of study sometimes calling 
for an extraordinary mental strain : 

" I remember once, during my season under 
Augustus Harris, that he gave a garden party, 
one Sunday, to which several of his company 


How They Succeeded 

were invited, myself included. When the 
afternoon was well along, he came to me and 
said : ' Did you ever sing " Valencia " in " The 
Huguenots ? " I told him I had not. 

" ' Do you think you could learn the music 
and sing it by next Saturday night ? ' 

" I felt a little appalled at the question, but 
ventured to say that I could. I knew that hard 
work would do it. 

" ' Then do/ he replied ; ' for I must have 
you sing it.' 

" The De Reszkes, Jean and Edouard, were 
near at the time, and offered to assist me. ' Try 
it/ they said, and so I agreed. We began re- 
hearsals, almost without study, the very next 
day, both the De Reszkes prompting me, and 
by Friday they had me letter-perfect and ready 
to go on. Since the time seemed so peculiarly 
short, they feared for me, and, during the per- 
formance, stationed themselves, one in either 
wing, to reassure me. Whenever I approached 
near to either side of the stage, it was always to 
hear their repeated ' Be calm ! ' whispered so 
loud that the audience could almost hear it. Yet 
I sang easily, never thinking of failure/' 


Madame Lillian Nordica 


" Let me ask you one thing," I said. " Has 
America good musical material ? " 

" As much as any other country, and more, 
I should think. The higher average of intelli- 
gence here should yield a greater percentage of 
musical intelligence." 

" Then there ought to be a number of Amer- 
ican women who can do good work of a high 

" There ought to be, but it is a question 
whether there will be. They are not cut out 
for the work which it requires to develop a 
good voice. I have noticed that young women 
seem to underestimate the cost of distinction. 
It means more than most of them are prepared 
to give; and, when they face the exactions of 
art, they falter and drop out. Hence we have 
many middle-class singers, but few really pow- 
erful ones." 

" What are these exactions you speak of ? " 

" Time, money, and loss of friends, of pleas- 
ure. To be a great singer means, first, to be a 
great student. To be a great student means 
that you have no time for balls and parties, very 
little for friends, and less for carriage rides and 


How They Succeeded 

pleasant strolls. All that is really left is a 
shortened allowance of sleep, of time for meals, 
and time for exercise. 


" Permanent recognition, which cannot be 
taken away from you, is acquired only by a 
lifetime of most earnest labor. People are 
never internationally recognized until they have 
reached middle life. Many persons gain no- 
toriety young, but that goes as quickly as it 
comes. All true success is founded on real ac- 
complishment acquired with difficulty. 

" Many young people have genius ; but they 
need training for valuable service. The world 
gives very little recognition for a great deal of 
labor paid in; and, when I earn a thousand 
dollars for a half hour's singing sometimes, it 
does not nearly average up for all the years and 
for the labor much more difficult which I con- 
tributed without recompense." 


|l xi piif 

How William Dean Howells 
Worked to Secure a Foothold 

IN answer to my question, what constitutes 
success in life, Mr. Howells replied that 
everything is open to the beginner who 
has sufficient energy, perseverance and brains. 

" A young man stands at the parting of two 
ways," he added, " and can take his path this 
way or that. It is comparatively easy then, 
with good judgment. Youth is certainly the 
greatest advantage which life supplies." 

Upon my inquiring about his early life, he 
replied : "I was born in a little southeastern 
Ohio village Martin's Ferry, which had 
little of what people deem advantages in 
schools, railroads, or population. I am not 
sure, however, that compensation was not had 
in other things." 

As to any special talent for literary composi- 
tion, Mr. Howells remarked that he came of a 


How They Succeeded 

reading race, which had always loved litera- 
ture in a way, and that it was his inclination 
to read. 

Upon this, I ventured to ask : " Would you 
say that, with a leaning toward a special study, 
and good health, a fair start, and perseverance, 
anyone can attain to distinction? " 

" That is a probability, only. You may be 
sure that distinction will not come without 
those qualities. The only way to succeed, is to 
have them; although having them will not 
necessarily guarantee distinction. I can only 
say that I began with 


" My own youth was not specially marked 
by advantages. There were none, unless you 
can call a small bookcase full of books, which 
my home contained, an advantage. The print- 
ing-office was my school from a very early date. 
My father thoroughly believed in it, and he 
had his belief as to work, which he illustrated 
as soon as we were old enough to learn the 
trade he followed. We could go to school and 
study, or we could go into the printing-office 
and work, with perhaps an equal chance of 
learning; but we could not be idle." 


William Dean Howells 

" And you chose the printing-office ? " 

" Not wholly. As I recall it, I went to and 
fro between the schoolhouse and the printing- 
office. When I tired of one, I was promptly 
given the other. 

" As the world goes now, we were poor. 
My father's income was never above twelve 
hundred a year, and his family was large; but 
nobody was rich then. We lived in the simple 
fashion of that time and place. 

" My reading, somehow, went on pretty con- 
stantly. No doubt my love for it won me a 
chance to devote time to it. The length varied 
with varying times. 

" Sometimes I read but little. There were 
so many years of work of over-work, indeed, 
which falls to the lot of many, that I should 
be ashamed to speak of it except in accounting 
for the fact of my little reading. My father 
had sold his paper in Hamilton, and bought 
an interest in another at Dayton, and at that 
time we were all straining our utmost to help 
pay for it. In that period very few hours were 
given to literature. My daily tasks began so 
early, and ended so late, that I had little time, 
even if I had the spirit for reading. Some- 
times I had to sit up until midnight, waiting 

How They Succeeded 

for telegraphic news, and be up again at dawn 
to deliver the papers, working afterwards at 
the case; but that was only for a few years." 


" When did you find time to seriously apply 
yourself to literature ? " 

" I think I did so before I really had the 
time. Literary aspirations were stirred in me 
by the great authors whom I successively dis- 
covered, and I was perpetually imitating the 
writings of these, modeling some composition 
of my own after theirs, but never willing to 
own it." 

" Do you attribute your style to the com- 
posite influence of these various models ? " 

" No doubt they had their effect, as a whole, 
but individually I was freed from the last by 
each succeeding author, until at length I came 
to understand that I must be like myself, and 
no other." 

" Had you any conveniences for literary re- 
search, beyond the bookcase in your home ? " 

" If you mean a place to work, I had a nar- 
row, little space, under the stairs. There was 
a desk pushed back against the wall, which the 
irregular ceiling sloped down to meet, behind 


William Dean Howells 

it; and at my left was a window, which gave 
a good light on the writing leaf of my desk. 
This was 


for six or seven years, and it was not at all 
a bad one. It seemed, for a while, so very 
simple and easy to come home in the middle 
of the afternoon, when my task at the printing- 
office was done, and sit down to my books in 
my little study, which I did not finally leave 
until the family were all in bed. My father 
had a decided bent for literature; and, when I 
began to show a liking for it, he was eager to 
direct my choice. This finally changed to 
merely recommending books, and eventually I 
was left to my own judgment, a perplexed 
and sorrowfully mistaken judgment, at times." 

" In what manner did you manage to read 
the works of all your favorite authors ? " 

"'My hours in the printing-office began at 
seven and ended at six, with an hour at noon 
for dinner, which I used for putting down such 
verses as had come to me in the morning. As 
soon as supper was over I got out my manu- 
scripts, and sawed, and filed, and hammered 
away at my blessed poems, which were little 


How They Succeeded 

less than imitations, until nine, when I went 
regularly to bed, to rise again at five. Some- 
times the foreman gave me an afternoon off on 
Saturday, which I devoted to literature." 

As I questioned further, it was said : " As 
I recall it, my father had secured one of those 
legislative clerkships in 1858, which used to 
fall sometimes to deserving country editors; 
and together we managed and carried out a 
scheme for corresponding with some city 
papers. Going to Columbus, the State Capital, 
we furnished a daily letter giving an account 
of the legislative proceedings, which I mainly 
wrote from the material he helped me to gather. 
The letters found favor, and my father with- 
drew from the work wholly. These letters I 
furnished during two years. 

" At the end of the first winter, a Cincinnati 
paper offered me the city editorship, but one 
night's round with the reporters at the police 
station satisfied me that I was not meant for 
that kind of work. I then returned home for 
the summer, and spent my time in reading, 
and in sending off poems, which regularly came 
back. I worked in my father's printing-office; 
but, as soon as my task was done, went home 
to my books, and worked away at them until 


William Dean Howells 

supper. Then a German bookbinder, with 
whom I was endeavoring to read Heine in the 
original, met me in my father's editorial room, 
and with a couple of candles on the table be- 
tween us, and our Heine and the dictionary 
before us, we read until we were both tired 

As to the influence of this constant writing 
and constant study, Mr. Howells remarked: 
" It was not without its immediate use. I 


after a study of their fitness; and, though I 
often employed them decoratively, and with no 
vital sense of their qualities, still, in mere deco- 
ration, they had to be chosen intelligently, and 
after some thought about their structure and 
meaning. I could not imitate great writers 
without imitating their method, which was to 
the last degree intelligent. They knew what 
they were doing, and, although I did not al- 
ways know what I was doing, they made me 
wish to know, and ashamed of not knowing. 
The result was beneficial." 

Mr. Howells then spoke of his astonishment, 
when one day he was at work as usual in the 

i 77 

How They Succeeded 

printing-office at home, upon being invited to 
take a place upon a Republican newspaper at 
Columbus, the Capital; where he was given 
charge of the news department. This included 
the literary notices and book reviews, to which, 
at once, he gave his prime attention. 

" When did you begin to contribute to the 
literature of the day ? " 

" If you mean, when did I begin to attempt 
to contribute, I should need to fix an early date, 
for I early had experience with rejected manu- 
scripts. One of my pieces, upon the familiar 
theme of Spring, was the first thing I ever had 
in print. My father offered it to the editor of 
the paper I worked on in Columbus, where we 
were then living, and I first knew what he had 
done, when with mingled shame and pride, I 
saw it in the journal. In the tumult of my 
emotions, I promised myself that if I ever got 
through that experience safely, I would never 
suffer anything else of mine to be published; 
but it was not long before I offered the editor 
a poem, myself." 

" When did you publish your first story ? " 

" My next venture was a story in the Ik 
Marvel manner, which it was my misfortune 
to carry into print. I did not really write it, 


William Dean Howells 

but composed it, rather, in type, at the case. 
It was not altogether imitated from Ik Marvel, 
for I drew upon the easier art of Dickens, at 
times, and helped myself out in places with 
bold parodies of ' Bleak House/ It was all 
very well at the beginning, but I had not 
reckoned with the future sufficiently to start 
with any clear ending in my mind; and, as I 
went on, I began to find myself more and more 
in doubt about it. My material gave out; my 
incidents failed me; the characters wavered, 
and threatened to perish in my hands. To 
crown my misery, there grew up an impatience 
with the story among its readers; and this 
found its way to me one day, when I overheard 
an old farmer, who came in for his paper, say 
that he ' did not think that story amounted to 
much.' I did not think so either, but it was 
deadly to have it put into words, and how I 
escaped the moral effect of the stroke I do not 
know. Somehow, I managed to bring the 
wretched thing to a close, and to live it slowly 


" My next contribution to literature was 
jointly with John J. Piatt, the poet, who had 

How They Succeeded 

worked with me as a boy in the printing-office 
at Columbus. We met in Columbus, where I 
was then an editor, and we made our first 
literary venture together in a volume entitled, 
' Poems of Two Friends/ The volume be- 
came instantly and lastingly unknown to fame; 
the West waited, as it always does, to hear 
what the East should say. The East said noth- 
ing, and two-thirds of the small edition of five 
hundred copies came back upon the publisher's 
hands. This did not deter me, however, from 
contributing to the periodicals, which from 
time to time, accepted my efforts. 

" I remained as an editor, in Columbus, until 
1 86 1, when I was appointed 


I really wanted to go to Germany, that I might 
carry forward my studies in German litera- 
ture; and I first applied for the Consulate at 
Munich. The powers at Washington thought 
it quite the same thing to offer me Rome, but 
I found that the income of the Roman Consul- 
ate would not give me a living, and I was 
forced to decline it. Then the President's pri- 
vate secretaries, Mr. John Nicolay and Mr. 
John Hay, who did not know me, except as a 


William Dean Howells 

young Westerner who had written poems in 
the ' Atlantic Monthly/ asked me how I would 
like Venice, promising that the salary would be 
put up to $1,000 a year. It was really put up 
to $1,500, and I accepted. I had four years of 
nearly uninterrupted leisure at Venice." 

" Was it easier, when you returned from 

" Not at all. On my return to America, my 
literary life took such form that most of my 
reading was done for review. I wrote at first 
a good many of the lighter criticisms in ' The 
Nation; ' and then I went to Boston, to become 
assistant editor of ' The Atlantic Monthly/ 
where I wrote the literary notices for that 
periodical for four or five years; then I became 
editor until 1881. And I have had some sort of 
close relation with magazines ever since." 

" Would you say that all literary success is 
very difficult to achieve?" I ventured. 

" All that is enduring." 

" It seems to me ours is an age when fame 
comes quickly." 

" Speaking of quickly made reputations," 
said Mr. Howells, meditatively, " did you ever 
hear of Alexander Smith ? He was a poet who, 
in the fifties, was proclaimed immortal by the 


How They Succeeded 

critics, and ranked with Shakespeare. I my- 
self read him with an ecstasy which, when I 
look over his work to-day, seems ridiculous. 
His poem, ' Life-Drama/ was heralded as an 
epic, and set alongside of ' Paradise Lost/ I 
cannot tell how we all came out of this craze, 
but the reading world is very susceptible to 
such lunacies. He is not the only third-rate 
poet who has been thus apotheosized, before 
and since. You might have envied his great 
success, as I certainly did; but it was not suc- 
cess, after all; and I am sure that real success 
is always difficult to achieve." 


" Do you believe that success comes to those 
who have a special bent or taste, which they 
cultivate by hard work ? " 

" I can only answer that out of my literary 
experience. For my own part, I believe I have 
never got any good from a book, that I did not 
read merely because I wanted to read it. I 
think this may be applied to anything a person 
does. The book, I know, which you read from 
a sense of duty, or because for any reason you 
must, is apt to yield you little. This, I think, 


William Dean Howells 

is also true of everything, and the endeavor 
that does one good and lasting good, is the 
endeavor one makes with pleasure. Labor 
done in another spirit will serve in a way, but 
pleasurable labor brings, on the whole, I think, 
the greatest reward." 

Referring again to his early years, it was re- 
marked : " A definite literary ambition grew 
up in me; and in the long reveries of the after- 
noon, when I was distributing my case in the 
printing-office, I fashioned a future of over- 
powering magnificence and undying celebrity. 
I should be ashamed to say what literary tri- 
umphs I achieved in those preposterous delir- 
iums. But I realize now that such dreams are 
nerving, and sustain one in an otherwise bar- 
ren struggle." 

" Were you ever tempted and willing to 
abandon your object of a literary life for some- 
thing else?" 

" I was, once. My first and only essay 
aside from literature was in the realm of law. 
It was arranged with a United States Senator 
that I should study law in his office. I tried it 
a month, but almost from the first day, I 
yearned to return to my books. / had not only 

How They Succeeded 

to go back to literature, but to the printing- 
office, and I gladly chose to do it, a step I 
never regretted" 

it was said by Mr. Howells, at the close of our 
interview : 

" I have come to see life, not as the chase of 
a forever-impossible personal happiness, but 
as a field for endeavor toward the happiness of 
the whole human family. There is no other 
success. I know, indeed, of nothing more 
subtly satisfying and cheering than a knowl- 
edge of the real good will and appreciation of 
others. Such happiness does not come with 
money, nor does it flow from a fine physical 
state. It cannot be bought. But it is the keen- 
est joy, after all; and the toiler's truest and 
best reward." 




THE richest man in the United States, 
John Davidson Rockefeller, has con- 
sented to break his rule never to talk 
for publication; and he has told me the story 
of his early struggles and triumphs, and given 
utterance to some strikingly interesting obser- 
vations anent the same. In doing so, he was 
influenced by the argument that there is some- 
thing of helpfulness, of inspiration, in the 
career of every self-made man. 

While many such careers have been prolific of 
vivid contrasts, this one is simply marvelous. 
Whatever may be said by political economists 
of the dangers of vast aggregations of wealth 
in the hands of the few, there can be no ques- 
tion of the extraordinary interest attaching to 
the life story of a man who was a farm laborer 
at the age of fifteen, who left school at eighteen, 
because he felt it to be his duty to care for his 

How They Succeeded 

mother and brother, and who, at the zenith of 
his business career, has endowed Chicago Uni- 
versity with $7,500,000 out of a fortune esti- 
mated at over $300,000,000, probably the 
largest single fortune on earth. 

The story opens in a fertile valley in Tioga 
County, New York, near the village of Rich- 
ford, where John D. Rockefeller was born on 
his father's farm in July, 1838. The parents of 
the boy were church-going, conscientious, debt- 
abhorring folk, who preferred the independence 
of a few acres to a mortgaged domain. They 
were Americans to the backbone, intelligent, 
industrious people, not very poor and certainly 
not very rich, for at fourteen John hired out to 
neighboring farmers during the summer 
months, in order to earn his way and not be 
dependent upon those he loved. His father 
was able to attend to the little farm himself, 
and thus it happened that the youth spent sev- 
eral summers away from home, toiling from 
sunrise to sunset, and sharing the humble life 
of the people he served. 


Did the tired boy, peering from his attic win- 
dow, ever dream of his future ? 


John D. Rockefeller 

He said to a youthful companion of Rich- 
ford, a farmer's boy like himself : " I would 
like to own all the land in this valley, as far as 
I can see. I sometimes dream of wealth and 
power. Do you think we shall ever be worth 
one hundred thousand dollars, you and I? I 
hope to, some day." 

Who can estimate the influence such a life as 
this must have had upon the future multi-mil- 
lionaire? I asked Mr. Rockefeller about this, 
and found him enthusiastic over the advan- 
tages which he had received from his rural sur- 
roundings, and full of faith in the ability of the 
country boy to surpass his city cousin. 

" To my mind," he said, " there is something 
unfortunate in being born in a city. Most 
young men raised in New York and other large 
centers have not had the struggles which come 
to us who were reared in the country. It is a 
noticeable fact that the country men are crowd- 
ing out the city fellows who have wealthy 
fathers. They are willing to do more work and 
go through more for the sake of winning suc- 
cess in the end. Sons of wealthy parents 
haven't a ghost of a show in competition with 
the fellows who come from the country with a 
determination to do something in the world." 


How They Succeeded 

The next step in the young man's life was 
his going to Cleveland, Ohio, in his sixteenth 

" That was a great change in my life," said 
he. " Going to Cleveland was my first experi- 
ence in a great city, and I shall never forget 
those years. I began work there as an office- 
boy, and learned a great deal about business 
methods while filling that position. But what 
benefited me most in going to Cleveland was 
the new insight I gained as to what a great 
place the world really is. I had plenty of am- 
bition then, and saw that, if I was to accom- 
plish much, I would have to work very, very 
hard, indeed." 


He found time, during the year 1854, to at- 
tend the sessions of the school which is now 
known as the Central High School. It was a 
brick edifice, surrounded by grounds which 
contained a number of hickory trees. It has 
long since been superseded by a larger and 
handsomer building, but Andrew J. Freese, the 
teacher, is still living. It is one of the proud- 
est recollections of this delightful old gentle- 
man's life that John D. Rockefeller went to 


John D. Rockefeller 

school with him. I visited him at his residence 
in Cleveland the other day, and he said : 

" John was one of the best boys I had. He 
was always polite, but when the other boys 
threw hickory clubs at him, or attempted any 
undue familiarities with him, he would stop 
smiling and sail into them. Young Hanna 
Marcus A. Hanna, who was also a pupil, 
learned this, to his cost, more than once, and 
so did young Jones, the present Nevada senator. 
I have had several very distinguished pupils, 
you see, and one of my girls is now Mrs. John 
D. Rockefeller. I had Edward Wolcott, the 
Colorado senator, later on. Yes, John was 
about as intelligent and well-behaved a chap as 
I ever had. Here is one of his essays which 
you may copy, if you wish." 

Mr. Rockefeller, I am quite sure, will pardon 
me for copying his composition at this late day, 
for its tone and subject matter reflect credit 
upon him : 

" Freedom is one of the most desirable of all 
blessings. Even the smallest bird or insect loves 
to be free. Take, for instance, a robin that has 
always been free to fly from tree to tree, and 
sing its cheerful song from day to day, catch 
it, and put it into a cage which is to it nothing 


How They Succeeded 

less than a prison, and, although it may be there 
tended with the choicest care, yet it is not con- 
tent. How eloquently does it plead, though in 
silence, for liberty. From day to day it sits 
mournfully upon its perch, meditating, as it 
were, some way for its escape, and when at 
last this is effected, how cheerfully does it wing 
its way out from its gloomy prison-house to 
sing undisturbed in the branches of the first 

" If even the birds of the air love freedom, is 
it not natural that man, the lord of creation, 
should? I reply that it is, and that it is a 
violation of the laws of our country, and the 
laws of our God, that man should hold his fel- 
lowman in bondage. Yet how many thousands 
there are at the present time, even in our own 
country, who are bound down by cruel masters 
to toil beneath the scorching sun of the South. 
How can America, under such circumstances, 
call herself free? Is it extending freedom by 
granting to the South one of the largest di- 
visions of land that she possesses for the pur- 
pose of holding slaves? It is a freedom that, 
if not speedily checked, will end in the ruin 
of our country." 

It was greatly to the regret of the teacher 


John D. Rockefeller 

that John came to him one day to announce his 
purpose to leave school. Mr. Freese urged him 
to remain two years longer, in order that he 
might complete the course, but the young man 
told him he felt obliged to earn more money 
than he was getting, because of his desire to 
provide for his mother and brother. He had 
received an offer, he said, of a place on the 
freight docks as a bill clerk, and this job would 
take him away from his studies. 


A short time afterwards, when Mr. Freese 
visited his former pupil at the freight dock, he 
found the young man seated on a bale of goods, 
bill book and pencil in hand. Pointing to a raft 
of hoop poles in the water, John told his caller 
that he had purchased them from a Canadian 
who had brought them across Lake Erie, ex- 
pecting to sell them. Failing in this, the owner 
gladly accepted a cash offer from young Rocke- 
feller, who named a price below the usual mar- 
ket rates. The young man explained that he 
had saved a little money out of his wages, and 
that this was his first speculation. He after- 
wards told Mr. Freese that he rafted the pur- 


How They Succeeded 

chase himself to a flour mill, and disposed of 
his bargain at a profit of fifty dollars. 1 


It was Mr. Freese, too, who first got the 
young man interested in oil. They were using 
sperm oil in those days, at a dollar and a half 
a gallon. Somebody had found natural petro- 
leum, thick, slimy, and foul-smelling, in the 
Pennsylvania creeks, and a quantity of it had 
been received in Cleveland by a next-door 
neighbor of the schoolmaster. The neighbor 
thought it could be utilized in some way, but 
his experiments were as crude as the ill-fa- 
vored stuff itself. These consisted of boiling, 
burning, and otherwise testing the oil, and the 
only result was the incurring of the disfavor of 
the near-by residents. The young man became 
interested at once. He, too, experimented with 

1 This hoop pole story is matched by another, related 
by a friend, of Rockefeller's later warehouse days in 
Cleveland. He one day bought a lot of beans. He 
bought them cheap, because they were damaged. In- 
stead of selling them at a slight advance, as most dealers 
would have done, he spent all his spare time, for weeks, 
in the attic of his warehouse, sorting over those beans 
He took out all the blackened and injured ones, and in 
the end he got a fancy price for the remainder, because 
they were of extra quality. 


John D. Rockefeller 

the black slime, draining off the clearer por- 
tions and touching matches to it. The flames 
were sickly, yellow, and malodorous. 

" There must be some way of deodorizing 
this oil" said John, " and I will find it. There 
ought to be a good sale for it for illuminating 
purposes, if the good oil can be separated from 
the sediment, and that awful smell gotten rid 

How well the young man profited by the ac- 
cidental meeting is a matter of history. But 
I am digressing. 


While in Cleveland, slaving away at his 
tasks, Mr. Rockefeller was training himself for 
the more busy days to come. He kept a small 
ledger in which he entered all his receipts and 
expenditures, and I had the privilege of exam- 
ining this interesting little book, and having its 
contents explained to me. It was nothing more 
than a small, paper-backed memorandum book. 

" When I looked this book up the other day, 
I thought I had but the cover," said Mr. Rocke- 
feller, " but, on examination, I perceived that I 
had utilized the cover to write on. In those 
days I was very economical, just as I am eco- 

How They Succeeded 

nomical now. Economy is a virtue. I hadn't 
seen my little ledger for a long time, when I 
found it among some old things. It is more 
than forty-two years ago since I wrote what it 
contains. I called it * Ledger A,' and I wouldn't 
exchange it now for all the ledgers in New 
York city and their contents. A glance through 
it shows me how carefully I kept account of 
my receipts and disbursements. I only wish 
more young men could be induced to keep ac- 
counts like this nowadays. It would go far 
toward teaching them the value of money. 

" Every young man should take care of his 
money. I think it is a man's duty to make all 
the money he can, keep all he can, and give 
away all he can. I have followed this principle 
religiously all my life, as is evidenced in this 
book. It tells me just what I did with my money 
during my first few years in business. Between 
September, 1855, and January, 1856, I received 
just fifty dollars. Out of this sum I paid for 
my washing and my board, and managed to 
save a little besides. I find, in looking through 
the book, that I gave a cent to Sunday school 
every Sunday. It wasn't much, but it was all 
that I could afford to give to that particular 
object. What I could afford to give to the 


John D. Rockefeller 

various religious and charitable works, I gave 
regularly. It is a good habit for a young man 
to get into. 

" During my second year in Cleveland, I 
earned twenty-five dollars a month. I was be- 
ginning to be a capitalist," said Mr. Rocke- 
feller, " and I suppose I ought to have consid- 
ered myself a criminal for having so much 
money. I paid all my own bills at this time, 
and had some money to give away. I also 
had the happiness of saving some. I am not 
sure, but I was more independent then than 
now. I couldn't buy the most fashionable cut 
of clothing, but I dressed well enough. I cer- 
tainly did not buy any clothes I couldn't pay 
for, as some young men do that I know of. I 
didn't make any obligations I could not meet, 
and my earnest advice is for every young man 
to live within his means. One of the swiftest 
' toboggan slides ' I know of, is for a young 
fellow just starting out into the world to go 
into debt. 

" During the time between November, 1855, 
and April, 1856, I paid out just nine dollars 
and nine cents for clothing. And there is one 
item that was certainly extravagant as I usu- 
ally wore mittens in the winter. This item is 


How They Succeeded 

for fur gloves, two dollars and a half. In this 
same period / gave away five dollars and fifty- 
eight cents. In one month I gave to foreign 
missions, ten cents, to the mite society, fifty 
cents, and twelve cents to the Five Points Mis- 
sion, in New York. I wasn't living here then, 
of course, but I suppose I thought the Mission 
needed money. These little contributions of 
mine were not large, but they brought me into 
direct contact with church work, and that has 
been a benefit to me all my life. It is a mistake 
for a man to think that he must be rich to help 


He earned and saved ten thousand dollars 
before he was twenty-five years old. 

Before he attained his majority, Rockefeller 
formed a partnership with another young man 
named Hewett, and began a warehouse and 
produce business. This was the natural out- 
growth of his freight clerkship on the docks. 
In five years, he had amassed about ten thou- 
sand dollars besides earning a reputation for 
business capacity and probity. 


John D. Rockefeller 


He never forgot those experiments with the 
crude oil. Discoveries became more and more 
frequent in the Pennsylvania oil territory. 
There was a rush of speculators to the new 
land of fortune. Men owning impoverished 
farms suddenly found themselves rich. Thou- 
sands of excited men bid wildly against each 
other for newly-shot wells, paying fabulous 
sums occasionally for dry holes. 


John D. Rockefeller looked the entire field 
over carefully and calmly. Never for a moment 
did he lose his head. His Cleveland bankers and 
business friends had asked him to purchase 
some wells, if he saw fit, offering to back him 
up with $75,000 for his own investment [he 
was worth about $10,000 at the time], and to 
put in $400,000 more on his report. 

The business judgment of this young man 
at twenty-five was so good, that his neighbors 
were willing to invest half a million dollars at 
his bidding. 

He returned to Cleveland without investing 
a dollar. Instead of joining the mad crowd 


How They Succeeded 

of producers, he sagaciously determined to be- 
gin at the other end of the business, the re- 
fining of the product. 


The use of petroleum was dangerous at that 
time, on account of the highly inflammable 
gases it contained. Many persons stuck to 
candles and sperm oil through fear of an ex- 
plosion if they used the new illuminant. The 
process of removing these superfluous gases by 
refining, or distilling, as it was then called, was 
in its infancy. There were few men who knew 
anything about it. 

Among Rockefeller's acquaintances in Cleve- 
land was one of these men. His name was 
Samuel Andrews. He had worked in a dis- 
tillery, and was familiar with the process. He 
believed that there was a great business to be 
built up by removing the gases from the crude 
oil and making it safe for household use. 
Rockefeller listened to him, and became con- 
vinced that he was right. Here was a field as 
wide as the world, limited only by the produc- 
tion of crude oil. It was a proposition on which 
he could figure and make sure of the result. It 
was just the thing Rockefeller had been look- 


John D. Rockefeller 

ing for. He decided to leave the production of 
oil to others, and to devote his attention to pre- 
paring it for market. 

Andrews was a brother commission mer- 
chant. The two started a refinery, each closing 
out his former business connection. In two 
weeks it was running night and day to fill or- 
ders> So great was the demand, and so great 
was the judgment of young Rockefeller, see- 
ing what no one else had seen. 

A second refinery had to be built at once, and 
in two years their plants were turning out two 
thousand barrels of refined petroleum per day. 
Henry M. Flagler, already wealthy, came into 
the firm, the name of which then became 
Rockefeller, Flagler and Andrews. More re- 
fineries were built, not only at Cleveland, but 
also at other advantageous points. Competing 
refineries were bought or rendered ineffective 
by the cutting of prices. 

It is related that Mr. Andrews became one 
day dissatisfied, and he was asked, " What 
will you take for your interest ? " Andrews 
wrote carelessly on a piece of paper, " One 
million dollars." Within twenty-four hours he 
was handed that amount ; Mr. Rockefeller say- 
ing, " Cheaper at one million than ten." In 


How They Succeeded 

building up the refinery business Rockefeller 
was the head; the others were the hands. He 
was always the general commanding, the tac- 
tician. He made the plans and his associates 
carried them out. Here was the post for which 
he had fitted himself, and in which his genius 
for planning had full sway. In the conduct of 
the refinery affairs, as in every enterprise in 
which he has taken part, he exemplified another 
rule to which he had adhered from his boyhood 
days. He was the leader in whatever he under- 
took. In going into any undertaking, John D. 
Rockefeller has made it his rule to have the 
chief authority in his own hands or to have 
nothing to do with the matter. 


In 1870, when Mr. Rockefeller was thirty- 
two years old, the business was merged into the 
Standard Oil Company, starting with a capital 
of one million dollars. Other pens have writ- 
ten the later story of that great corporation; 
how it started pipe lines to carry the oil to the 
seaboard ; how it earned millions in by-products 
which had formerly run to waste ; how it cov- 
ered the markets of the world in its keen search 
for trade, distancing all competition, and cheap- 


John D. Rockefeller 

ening its own processes so that its dividends in 
one year, 1899, amounted to $23,000,000 in 
excess of the fixed dividend upon the whole 
capital stock. This is the outcome of thirty 
years' development. The corporation is now 
the greatest business combination of modern 
times, or of any age of the world. Mr. Rocke- 
feller's annual income from his holdings of 
Standard Oil stock is estimated at about sixteen 
millions of dollars. 


The brains of all this, the owner of the larg- 
est percentage of the stock in the parent cor- 
poration, and in most of the lesser ones, is now 
sixty-two years old. His personality is simple 
and unaffected, his tastes domestic, and the 
trend of his thoughts decidedly religious. His 
Cleveland residential estate is superb, covering 
a large tract of park-like land, but even there 
he has shown his unselfishness by donating a 
large portion of his land to the city for park 
purposes. His New York home is not a pre- 
tentious place, solid, but by no means elegant 
in outward appearance. Between the two 
homes he divides his time with his wife and 
children. He is an earnest and hard-working 


How They Succeeded 

member of the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, 
in New York, and does much to promote the 
good work carried on by that organization. He 
is particularly interested in the Sunday-school 


He arises early in the morning, at his home, 
and, after a light breakfast, attends to some of 
his personal affairs there. He is always early 
on hand at the great Standard Oil building on 
lower Broadway, New York, and, during the 
day, he transacts business connected with the 
management of that vast corporation. There 
is hardly one of our business men of whom the 
public at large knows so little. He avoids pub- 
licity as most men would the plague. The result 
is that he is the only one of our very wealthy 
men who maintains the reputation of being dif- 
ferent from the ordinary run of mortals. To 
most newspaper readers, he is a man of mys- 
tery, a sort of financial wizard who sits in his 
office and heaps up wealth after the fashion of 
Aladdin and other fairy-tale heroes. 

All this is wide of the mark. It would be 
hard to find a more commonplace, matter-of- 
fact man than John D. Rockefeller. His tall 


John D. Rockefeller 

form, with the suggestion of a stoop in it, his 
pale, thoughtful face and reserved manner, 
suggest the scholar or professional man rather 
than an industrial Hercules or a Napoleon of 
finance. He speaks in a slow, deliberate man- 
ner, weighing each word. There is nothing 
impulsive or bombastic about him. But his 
conversation impresses one as consisting of 
about one hundred per cent, of cold, compact, 
boiled-down common sense. 

Here is to be noted one characteristic of the 
great oil magnate which has helped to make 
him what he is. The popular idea of a multi- 
millionaire is a man who has taken big risks, 
and has come out luckily. He is a living refu- 
tation of this conception. He is careful and 
cautious by nature, and he has made these traits 
habitual for a lifetime; he conducts all his af- 
fairs on the strictest business principles. 


The qualities which have made him so suc- 
cessful are largely those which go to the mak- 
ing of any successful business man, industry, 
thrift, perseverance, and foresight. Three of 
these qualities would have made him a rich 
man ; the last has distinguished him as the rich- 


How They Succeeded 

est man. One of his business associates said of 
him, the other day: 

" I believe the secret of his success, so far 
as there is any secret, lies in power of foresight, 
which often seems to his associates to be won- 
derful. It comes simply from his habit of look- 
ing at every side of a question, of weighing the 
favorable and unfavorable features of a situa- 
tion, and of sifting out the inevitable result 
through his unfailing good judgment." 

This is his own personal statement, put into 
other words, so it may be accepted as true. 
The encouraging part of it is that, while such 
foresight as Rockefeller displays may be as- 
cribed partly to natural endowment, both he 
and his friend say that it is more largely a 
matter of habit, made effective by continual 


At noon he takes a very simple lunch at his 
club, or at some downtown restaurant. The 
lunch usually consists of a bowl of bread and 
milk. He remains at the office until late in the 
afternoon, and before dinner he takes some 
exercise. In winter, he skates when possible. 
And at other seasons of the year he nearly al- 


John D. Rockefeller 

ways drives in the park or on the avenues. 
Mr. Rockefeller has great faith in fresh air as a 


The evenings are nearly always spent at 
home, for neither Mr. Rockefeller nor any of 
the children are fond of " society," as the word 
is understood in New York. The children 
seem to have inherited many of their father's 
sensible ideas, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., has 
apparently escaped the fate of most rich men's 
sons. He has a deep sense of responsibility as 
the heir-apparent to so much wealth ; and, since 
his graduation from college, he has devoted 
himself to a business career, starting at the bot- 
tom and working upward, step by step. It is 
now generally known that he has been very 
successful in his business ventures, and he bids 
fair to become a worthy successor to his father. 
He is now actively engaged in important phil- 
anthropic enterprises in New York. Miss Bes- 
sie became the wife of a poor clergyman of 
the Baptist Church in Cleveland; while Miss 
Alta is married to a prominent young business 
man in Chicago. 


How They Succeeded 


Mr. Rockefeller has during many years 
turned over to his children a great many letters 
from needy people, asking them to exercise 
their own judgment in distributing charities. 

While he has himself given away millions 
for education and charity, he would have given 
more were it not for his dread of seeming os- 
tentatious. But he never gives indiscriminately, 
nor out of hand. When a charity appeals to 
him, he investigates it thoroughly, just as he 
would a business scheme. If he decides that 
its object is worthy, he gives liberally; other- 
wise, not a cent can be got out of him. 

It may be imagined that such a man is busy 
to the full limit of his working capacity. This 
is true. He is too busy for any of the pastimes 
and pleasures in which most wealthy men seek 
diversion. He is thoroughly devoted to his 
home and family, and spends as much as possi- 
ble of his time with them. He is a man who 
views life seriously, but in his quiet way he can 
get as much enjoyment out of a good story or 
a meeting with an old friend as can any other 


John D. Rockefeller 


When I asked Mr. Rockefeller what he con- 
siders has most helped him in obtaining success 
in business, he answered : "It was early train- 
ing, and the fact that I was willing to perse- 
vere. I do not think there is any other quality 
so essential to success of any kind as the quality 
of perseverance. It overcomes almost every- 
thing, even nature." 

It is to be said of his business enterprises, 
looking at them in a large way, that he has 
given to the world good honest oil, of standard 
quality; that his employees are always well 
paid; that he has given away more money in 
benevolence than any other business man in 
America. And everything about the man in- 
dicates that he is likely to "persevere " in the 
course he has so long pursued, turning his 
vast wealth into institutes for public service. 


" There are men born with a genius for 
money-making," says Mathews. " They have 
the instinct of accumulation. The talent and 
the inclination to convert dollars into doubloons 
by bargains or shrewd investments are in them 
just as strongly marked and as uncontrollable 


How They Succeeded 

as were the ability and the inclination of 
Shakespeare to produce Hamlet and Othello, 
of Raphael to paint his cartoons, of Beethoven 
to compose his symphonies, or Morse to invent 
an electric telegraph. As it would have been a 
gross dereliction of duty, a shameful perversion 
of gifts, had these latter disregarded the in- 
stincts of their genius and engaged in the 
scramble for wealth, so would a Rothschild, an 
Astor, and a Peabody have sinned had they 
done violence to their natures, and thrown their 
energies into channels where they would have 
proved dwarfs and not giants." 

The opportunity which came to young 
Rockefeller does not occur many times in many 
ages: and in a generous interpretation of his 
opportunity he has already invested a great 
deal of his earnings in permanently useful 



The Author of the Battle Hymn 
of the Republic Her Views 
of Education for Young Wo- 

A POET, author, lecturer, wit and con- 
versationalist, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe 
unites with the attributes of a tender, 
womanly nature which has made her the idol 
of her husband and children the sterner vir- 
tues of a reformer; the unflinching courage 
which dares to stand with a small minority in 
the cause of right; the indomitable persever- 
ance and force of character which persist in the 
demand for justice in face of the determined 
opposition of narrow prejudice and old-time 

Although more Bostonian than the Boston- 
ians themselves, Mrs. Howe first saw the light 
in New York, and has spent much of her later 


How They Succeeded 

life at Newport. Born in 1819, in a stately 
mansion near the Bowling Green, then the most 
fashionable quarter of New York, she was the 
fourth child of Samuel Ward and Julia Cutler 
Ward, people of unusual culture, refinement, 
and high ideals. Mr. Ward was a man of spot- 
less honor and business integrity; and, al- 
though not wealthy as compared with the mil- 
lionaires of to-day, his fortune was ample 
enough to surround his wife and children with 
all the luxuries and refinements that the most 
fastidious nature could crave. Mrs. Ward pos- 
sessed a rare combination of personal charms 
and mental gifts, which endeared her to all who 
had the privilege of knowing her. All too soon, 
the death angel came and bore away the lovely 
young wife and mother, then in her twenty- 
eighth year. 

Rousing himself, with a great effort, from 
the grief into which the death of his wife had 
plunged him, Mr. Ward devoted himself to the 
training, and education of his children. Far 
in advance of his age in the matter of higher 
education for women he selected as the tutor 
of his daughters the learned Doctor Joseph 
Green Cogswell, with instruction to teach 
them the full curriculum of Harvard college. 


Mrs. Julia Ward Howe 


The scholarly and refined atmosphere of her 
father's home, which was the resort of the most 
distinguished men of letters of the day, was an 
admirable school for the development of the 
literary and philosophic mind of the " little 
Miss Ward," as Mr. Ward's eldest daughter 
had been called from childhood. 

Learned even beyond advanced college 
graduates of to-day, an accomplished linguist, 
a musical amateur of great promise, the young 
and beautiful Miss Julia Ward, of Bond street, 
soon became a leader of the cultured and fash- 
ionable circle in which she moved. In the 
series, " Authors at Home," by M. C. Sher- 
wood, we get a glimpse of her, about that time, 
in a whimsical entry from the diary of a Miss 
Hamilton, written at the time of the return 
of Doctor Howe, from Greece, whither he had 
gone to fight the Turks : 

" I walked down Broadway with all the 
fashion and met the pretty blue stocking, Miss 
Julia Ward, with her admirer, Doctor Howe, 
just home from Europe. She had on a blue 
satin cloak and a white muslin dress. I looked 
to see if she had on blue stockings, but I think 

21 I 

How They Succeeded 

not. I suspect that her stockings were pink, 
and she wore low slippers, as grandmamma 
does. They say she dreams in Italian and 
quotes French verses. She sang very prettily 
at a party last evening. I noticed how white 
her hands were. Still, though attractive, the 
muse is not handsome." 


Soon after the loss of her father, in 1839, 
Miss Ward paid the first of a series of visits to 
Boston, where she met, among other distin- 
guished people who became life-long friends, 
Sarah Margaret Fuller, Horace Mann, Charles 
Sumner, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1843 
she was married to the director of the institute 
for the blind, in South Boston, the physician 
and reformer, Doctor Samuel G. Howe, of 
whom Sydney Smith spoke referring to the 
remarkable results attained in his education of 
Laura Bridgman, as " a modern Pygmalion 
who has put life into a statue." Immediately 
aftei their marriage, Doctor and Mrs. Howe 
sailed for Europe, making London their first 
stopping place. There they met many famous 
men and women, among them Charles Dickens, 


Mrs. Julia Ward Howe 

Thomas Carlyle, Sydney Smith, Thomas 
Moore, the Duchess of Sutherland, John For- 
ster, Samuel Rogers, Richard Monckton 
Milnes, and many others. After an extensive 
continental tour, including the Netherlands, 
Switzerland, Germany, France, and Italy, Doc- 
tor and Mrs. Howe returned home and took up 
their residence in South Boston. 

One of her friends has said : " Mrs. Howe 
wrote leading articles from her cradle ; " and it 
is true that at seventeen, at least, she was an 
anonymous but valued contributor to the New 
York Magazine, then a prominent periodical. 
In 1854 , her first volume of poems was pub- 
lished. She named it " Passion Flowers," and 
the Boston world of letters hailed her as a new 
poet. Though published anonymously, the 
volume at once revealed its author; and Mrs. 
Howe was welcomed into the poetic fraternity 
by such shining lights as Emerson, Whittier, 
Longfellow, Bryant, and Holmes. The poem 
by which the author will be forever enshrined 
in her country's memory is, par excellence, 
" The Battle Hymn of the Republic," which, 
like Kipling's " Recessional," sang itself at 
once into the heart of the nation. As any 
sketch of Mrs. Howe would be incomplete 


How They Succeeded 

without the story of the birth of this great 
song of America, it is here given in brief. 


It was in the first year of our Civil War that 
Mrs. Howe, in company with her husband and 
friends, visited Washington. During their 
stay in that city, the party went to see a review 
of troops, which, however, was interrupted by 
a movement of the enemy, and had to be put 
off for the day. The carriage in which Mrs. 
Howe was seated with her friends was sur- 
rounded by armed men; and, as they rode 
along, she began to sing, to the great delight 
of the soldiers, " John Brown." " Good for 
you ! " shouted the boys in blue, who, with a 
will, took up the refrain. Mrs. Howe then 
began conversing with her friends on the mo- 
mentous events of the hour, and expressed the 
strong desire she felt to write some words 
which might be sung to this stirring tune, add- 
ing that she feared she would never be able to 
do so. " She went to sleep," says her daugh- 
ter, Maude Howe Eliot, " full of thoughts of 
battle, and awoke before dawn the next morn- 
ing to find the desired verses immediately pres- 

2I 4 

Mrs. Julia Ward Howe 

ent to her mind. She sprang from her bed, 
and in the dim gray light found a pen, and 
paper, whereon she wrote, scarcely seeing 
them, the lines of the poem. Returning to her 
couch, she was soon asleep, but not until she 
had said to herself, ' I like this better than any- 
thing I have ever written before/ " 

Of Mrs. Howe it may very fittingly be said 
that she is eighty years young. Her blue eye 
retains its brightness, and her dignified car- 
riage betokens none of the feebleness of age. 
Above all, her mind seems to hold, in a marvel- 
ous degree, its youthful vigor and elasticity; 
a fact that especially impressed me as the au- 
thor of " The Battle Hymn of the Republic " 
expressed her views on the desirability of a col- 
lege training for girls. 

" The girls who go to college," said Mrs. 
Howe, " are very much in request, I should say 
for everything, certainly for teaching. Then, 
naturally, if they wish to follow literature, they 
have a very great advantage over those who 
have not had the benefit of a college course, 
having a liberal education to begin with." 

2I S 

How They Succeeded 

" Which is the greater advantage to a girl, 
to have talent or great perseverance? " 

" In order to accomplish anything really 
worth doing, I think great perseverance is of 
the first importance. On the other hand, one 
cannot do a great deal without talent, while 
special talent without perseverance never 
amounts to much. I once heard Mr. Emerson 
say, ' Genius without character is mere f riski- 
ness ; ' and we all know of highly gifted people, 
who, because lacking the essential quality of 
perseverance, accomplish very little in the 

" Do you think the college girl will exercise 
a greater influence on modern progress and the 
civilization of the future than her untrained 

" Oh, very much greater," was the quick, 
emphatic reply. " In the first place, I think 
that college-bred girls are quite as likely to 
marry as others, and when a college girl mar- 
ries, then the whole family is lifted to a higher 
plane, the natural result of the well-trained, 
cultivated mind. Mothers of old, you know, 
were very ignorant. Indeed, it is sad to think 
what few advantages they had. Of course, 
some of them had opportunities to study alone, 


Mrs. Julia Ward Howe 

but this solitary study could not accomplish 
for them what the colleges, with their corps of 
specialists and trained professors, are doing 
for the young women of to-day." 


Speaking of the advantages and disadvan- 
tages of coeducational institutions, Mrs. Howe 
said : 

" While there are many advantages in co- 
education, there are also some dangers. The 
great advantage consists in the mingling of 
both sorts of mind, the masculine and the fem- 
inine. This gives a completeness that cannot 
otherwise be obtained. I have observed that 
when committees are made up of both men and 
women, we get a roundness and completeness 
that are lacking when the membership is com- 
posed of either sex alone; and so in college 
recitations, where the boys present their side 
and the girls theirs, we get better results. This, 
of course, is natural. Fortunately, so far, 
scandals have been very rare, if found at all, 
in coeducation at colleges. Many people, how- 
ever, would not care to trust their children, 
nor would we send every girl, to such colleges ; 
and, for this reason, I am glad that we have 


How They Succeeded 

women's colleges. I think, however, that, if 
the students are at all earnest, and have high 
ideals set before them, the coeducational is the 
ideal college; for the course in these colleges 
is like a great intellectual race, which arouses 
and stimulates all the nobler faculties." 

" What influence do you think environment 
has on one's career, on success in life ? " 

" What do you mean by environment ? " 

" Well, I mean especially the sort of people 
with whom one is associated; their order of 

" I think it has a very important effect. If 
we are kept perpetually under lowering influ- 
ences lowering both morally and aesthetically, 
the tendency will inevitably be to drag us 
down. I say aesthetically, because I think in 
that sense good taste is a part of good morals. 
You can, of course, have good taste without 
good morals ; but with morality there is a cer- 
tain feeling or measure of reserve and nicety 
which does not accompany good taste without 
good morals. You know St. Paul says : ' Evil 
communications corrupt good manners/ That 
is as true to-day as it ever was. We can't al- 
ways be with our equals or our superiors, how- 
ever; we must take people as we find them. 


Mrs. Julia Ward Howe 

But we should try to be with people who stand 
for high things, morally and intellectually. 
Then, when we have to be among people of a 
lower grade, we can help them, because I think 
human nature, on the whole, desires to be ele- 
vated rather than lowered." 

" Do you think it is necessary to success in 
life to have a special aim ? " 

" I think it is a great thing to have a special 
aim or talent, and it is better to make one thing 
the leading interest in life than to run after 





TO discover the opinion of Thomas A. 
Edison concerning what makes and 
constitutes success in life is an easy 
matter if one can first discover Mr. Edison. 
I camped three weeks in the vicinity of Orange, 
N. J., awaiting the opportunity to come upon 
the great inventor and voice my questions. It 
seemed a rather hopeless and discouraging 
affair until he was really before me ; but, truth 
to say, he is one of the most accessible of men, 
and only reluctantly allows himself to be hedged 
in by pressure of endless affairs. 

" Mr. Edison is always glad to see any visi- 
tor," said a gentleman who is continually with 
him, " except when he is hot on the trail of 
something he has been working for, and then 
it is as much as a man's head is worth to come 
in on him." 

He certainly was not hot on the trail of any- 
thing on the morning when, for the tenth time, 


Thomas A. Edison 

I rang at the gate in the fence which surrounds 
the laboratory on Valley Road, Orange. A 
young man appeared, who conducted me up 
the walk to the Edison laboratory office. 


is a place not to be passed through with- 
out thought, for, with a further store of vol- 
umes in his home, it contains one of the most 
costly and well-equipped scientific libraries in 
the world; the collection of writings on patent 
laws and patents, for instance, is absolutely 
exhaustive. It gives, at a glance, an idea of 
the breadth of thought and sympathy of this 
man who grew up with scarcely a common 
school education. 

On the second floor, in one of the offices of 
the machine-shop, I was asked to wait, while a 
grimy youth disappeared with my card, which 
he said he would " slip under the door of Mr. 
Edison's office." 

" Curious," I thought ; " what a lord this 
man must be if they dare not even knock at his 

Thinking of this and gazing out the window, 
I waited until a working man, who had entered 
softly, came up beside me. He looked with a 


How They Succeeded 

sort of " Well, what is it ? " in his eyes, and 
quickly it began to come to me that the man in 
the sooty, oil-stained clothes was Edison him- 
self. The working garb seemed rather incon- 
gruous, but there was no mistaking the broad 
forehead, with its shock of blackish hair 
streaked with gray. The gray eyes, too, were 
revelations in the way of alert comprehensive- 

" Oh ! " was all I could get out at the time. 

" Want to see me ? " he said, smiling in the 
most youthful and genial way. 

" Why, yes, certainly, to be sure," 1 stam- 

He looked at me blankly. 

" You'll have to talk louder," said an as- 
sistant who worked in another portion of the 
room ; " he don't hear well." 

This fact was new to me, but I raised my 
voice with celerity, and piped thereafter in an 
exceedingly shrill key. After the usual hum- 
drum opening remarks, in which he acknowl- 
edged his age as fifty-two years, and that he 
was born in Erie county, O., of Dutch parent- 
age, the family having emigrated to America 
in 1730, the particulars began to grow more 


Thomas A. Edison 

His great-grandfather, I learned, was a 
banker of high standing in New York; and, 
when Thomas was but a child of seven years, 
the family fortune suffered reverses so serious 
as to make it necessary that he should become a 
wage-earner at an unusually early age, and 
that the family should move from his birth- 
place to Michigan. 

" Did you enjoy mathematics as a boy ? " I 

" Not much/' he replied. " I tried to read 
Newton's ' Principia/ at the age of eleven. 
That disgusted me with pure mathematics, and 
I don't wonder now. I should not have been 
allowed to take up such serious work." 
' You were anxious to learn ? " 

"Yes, indeed, / attempted to read through 
the entire Free Library at Detroit, but other 
things interfered before I had done." 


" Were you a book-worm and dreamer? " I 

" Not at all," he answered, using a short, 
jerky method, as though he were unconsciously 
checking himself up. " I became a newsboy, 


How They Succeeded 

and liked the work. Made my first coup as a 
newsboy in 1869." 

" What was it? " I ventured. 

" I bought up on ' futures ' a thousand copies 
of the Detroit Free Press containing im- 
portant war news, gained a little time on my 
rivals, and sold the entire batch like hot cakes. 
The price reached twenty-five cents a paper 
before the end of the route," and he laughed. 
" I ran the Grand Trunk Herald, too, at that 
time a little paper I issued from the train/' 

" When did you begin to be interested in in- 
vention?" I questioned. 

"Well," he said, "I began to dabble in 
chemistry at that time. I fitted up a small 
laboratory on the train." 

In reference to this, Mr. Edison subsequently 
admitted that, during the progress of some oc- 
cult experiments in this workshop, certain 
complications ensued in which a jolted and 
broken bottle of sulphuric acid attracted the 
attention of the conductor. He, who had been 
long suffering in the matter of unearthly odors, 
promptly ejected the young devotee and all his 
works. This incident would have been only 
amusing but for its relation to, and explanation 
of, his deafness. A box on the ear, adminis- 


Thomas A. Edison 

tered by the irate conductor, caused the lasting 


" What was your first work in a practical 
line? " I went on. 

" A telegraph line between my home and 
another boy's, I made with the help of an old 
river cable, some stove-pipe wire, and glass- 
bottle insulators. I had my laboratory in the 
cellar and studied telegraphy outside." 

" What was the first really important thing 
you did?" 

" I saved a boy's life." 


" The boy was playing on the track near the 
depot. I saw he was in danger and caught 
him, getting out of the way just in time. His 
father was station-master, and taught me tele- 
graphy in return." 

Dramatic situations appear at every turn of 
this man's life. He seems to have been con- 
tinually arriving on the scene at critical mo- 
ments, and always with the good sense to take 
things in his own hands. The chance of learn- 
ing telegraphy only gave him a chance to show 
how apt a pupil he was, and the railroad com- 


How They Succeeded 

pany soon gave him regular employment. At 
seventeen, he had become one of the most ex- 
pert operators on the road. 

" Did you make much use of your inventive 
talent at this time? " I questioned. 

" Yes," he answered. " I invented an au- 
tomatic attachment for my telegraph instru- 
ment which would send in the signal to show I 
was awake at my post, when I was comfortably 
snoring in a corner. I didn't do much of that, 
though," he went on; " for some such boyish 
trick sent me in disgrace over the line into Can- 

" Were you there long? " 

" Only a winter. If it's incident you want, 
I can tell you one of that time. The place 
where I was and Sarnier, the American town, 
were cut off from telegraphic and other means 
of communication by the storms, until I got at 
a locomotive whistle and tooted a telegraphic 
message. I had to do it again and again, but 
eventually they understood over the water and 
answered in the same way." 

According to his own and various recorded 
accounts, Edison was successively in charge of 
important wires in Memphis, Cincinnati, New 
Orleans, and Louisville. He lived in the free- 


Thomas A. Edison 

and-easy atmosphere of the tramp operators 
a boon companion with them, yet absolutely 
refusing to join in the dissipations to which 
they were addicted. So highly esteemed was 
he for his honesty, that it was the custom of his 
colleagues, when a spree was on hand, to make 
him the custodian of those funds which they 
felt obliged to save. On a more than usually 
hilarious occasion, one of them returned rather 
the worse for wear, and knocked the treasurer 
down on his refusal to deliver the trust money ; 
the other depositors, we may be glad to note, 
gave the ungentlemanly tippler a sound thrash- 


" Were you good at saving your own 
money? " I asked. 

" No/' he said, smiling. " I never was 
much for saving money, as money. I devoted 
every cent, regardless of future needs, to 
scientific books and materials for experi- 

" You believe that an excellent way to suc- 

" Well, it helped me greatly to future suc- 


How They Succeeded 


" What was your next invention ? " I in- 

" An automatic telegraph recorder a ma- 
chine which enabled me to record dispatches at 
leisure, and send them off as fast as needed/' 

" How did you come to hit upon that ? " 

" Well, at the time, I was in such straits that 
I had to walk from Memphis to Louisville. At 
the Louisville station they offered me a place. 
I had perfected a style of handwriting which 
would allow me to take legibly from the wire, 
long hand, forty-seven and even fifty- four 
words a minute, but I was only a moderately 
rapid sender. I had to do something to help 
me on that side, and so I thought out that little 

Later I discovered an article by one of his 
biographers, in which a paragraph referring to 
this Louisville period, says : 

" True to his dominant instincts, he was not 
long in gathering around him a laboratory, 
printing office, and machine shop. He took 
press reports during his whole stay, including 
on one occasion, the Presidential message, by 
Andrew Johnson, and this at one sitting, from 
3.30 P. M. to 4.30 A. M. 


Thomas A. Edison 

" He then paragraphed the matter he had 
received over the wires, so that printers had 
exactly three lines each, thus enabling them to 
set up a column in two or three minutes' time. 
For this, he was allowed all the exchanges he 
desired, and the Louisville press gave him a 

" How did you manage to attract public at- 
tention to your ability?" I questioned. 

" I didn't manage," said the Wizard. 
" Some things I did created comment. A de- 
vice that I invented in 1868, which utilized one 
sub-marine cable for two circuits, caused con- 
siderable talk, and the Franklin telegraph office 
of Boston gave me a position." 

It is related of this, Mr. Edison's first trip 
East, that he came with no ready money and 
in a rather dilapidated condition. His col- 
leagues were tempted by his " hayseed " ap- 
pearance to " salt " him, as professional slang 
terms the process of giving a receiver matter 
faster than he can record it. For this purpose, 
the new man was assigned to a wire manipu- 
lated by a New York operator famous for his 
speed. But there was no fun at all. Not- 
withstanding the fact that the New Yorker was 
in the game and was doing his most speedy 


How They Succeeded 

clip, Edison wrote out the long message accu- 
rately, and, when he realized the situation, was 
soon firing taunts over the wire at the sender's 

" Had you patented many things up to the 
time of your coming East ? " I queried. 

" Nothing," said the inventor, ruminatively. 
" I received my first patent in 1869." 

"For what?" 

" A machine for recording votes, and de- 
signed to be used in the State Legislature." 

" I didn't know such machines were in use," 
I ventured. 

" They ar'n't," he answered, with a merry 
twinkle. " The better it worked, the more im- 
possible it was; the sacred right of the minor- 
ity, you know, couldn't filibuster if they used 
it, didn't use it." 


" Yes, it was an ingenious thing. Votes were 
clearly pointed and shown on a roll of paper, 
by a small machine attached to the desk of each 
member. I was made to learn that such an 
innovation was out of the question, but it 
taught me something." 

"And that was?" 

" To be sure of the practical need of, and de- 


Thomas A. Edison 

mand for, a machine, before expending time 

and energy on it." 

" Is that one of your maxims of success ? " 
" It is. It is a good rule to give people 

something they want, and they will pay money 

to get it." 


In this same year, Edison removed from Bos- 
ton to New York, friendless and in debt on 
account of the expenses of his experiment. For 
several weeks he wandered about the town 
with actual hunger staring him in the face. 
It was a time of great financial excitement, and 
with that strange quality of Fortunism, which 
seems to be his chief characteristic, he entered 
the establishment of the Law Gold Reporting 
Company just as their entire plant had shut 
down on account of an accident in the machin- 
ery that could not be located. The heads of 
the firm were anxious and excited to the last 
degree, and a crowd of the Wall street fra- 
ternity waited about for the news which came 
not. The shabby stranger put his finger on 
the difficulty at once, and was given lucrative 
employment. In the rush of the metropolis, 
a man finds his true level without delay es- 


How They Succeeded 

pecially when his talents are of so practical 
and brilliant a nature as were this young teleg- 
rapher's. It would be an absurdity to imagine 
an Edison hidden in New York. Within a 
short time, he was presented with a check for 
$40,000, as his share of a single invention 
an improved stock printer. From this time, 
a national reputation was assured him. He 
was, too, now engaged upon the duplex and 
quadruplex systems systems for sending two 
and four messages at the same time over a 
single wire, which were to inaugurate almost 
a new era in telegraphy. 


Recalling the incident of the Law Gold Re- 
porting Company, I inquired : "Do you be- 
lieve want urges a man to greater efforts, and 
so to greater success ? " 

" It certainly makes him keep a sharp look- 
out. I think it does push a man along." 

" Do you believe that invention is a gift, or 
an acquired ability ? " 

" I think it's born in a man." 

" And don't you believe that familiarity 
with certain mechanical conditions and defects 
naturally suggests improvements to any one ? " 


Thomas A. Edison 

" No. Some people may be perfectly famil- 
iar with a machine all their days, knowing it 
inefficient, and never see a way to improve it." 

" What do you think is the first requisite for 
success in your field, or any other ? " 

" The ability to apply your physical and 
mental energies to one problem incessantly 
without growing weary" 


" Do you have regular hours, Mr. Edison ? " 
I asked. 

" Oh," he said, " I do not work hard now. 
I come to the laboratory about eight o'clock 
every day and go home to tea at six, and then I 
study or work on some problem until eleven, 
which is my hour for bed." 

" Fourteen of fifteen hours a day can scarcely 
be called loafing," I suggested. 

" Well," he replied, " for fifteen years I have 
worked on an average of twenty hours a day." 

When he was forty-seven years old, he esti- 
mated his true age at eighty-two, since work- 
ing only eight hours a day would have taken 
till that time. 

Mr. Edison has sometimes worked sixty 
consecutive hours upon one problem. Then 


How They Succeeded 

after a long sleep, he was perfectly refreshed 
and ready for another. 


Mr. Dickson, a neighbor and familiar, gives 
an anecdote told by Edison which well illus- 
trates his untiring energy and phenomenal en- 
durance. In describing his Boston experience, 
Edison said he bought Faraday's works on 
electricity, commenced to read them at three 
o'clock in the morning and continued until his 
room-mate arose, when they started on their 
long walk to get breakfast. That object was 
entirely subordinated in Edison's mind to 
Faraday, and he suddenly remarked to his 
friend : " ' Adams, I have got so much to do, 
and life is so short, that I have got to hustle/ 
and with that I started off on a dead run for my 

" I've known Edison since he was a boy of 
fourteen," said another friend; "and of my 
own knowledge I can say he never spent an idle 
day in his life. Often, when he should have 
been asleep, I have known him to sit up half the 
night reading. He did not take to novels or 
wild Western adventures, but read works on 
mechanics, chemistry, and electricity; and he 

2 34 

Thomas A. Edison 

mastered them too. But in addition to his 
reading, which he could only indulge in at odd 
hours, he carefully cultivated his wonderful 
powers of observation, till at length, when he 
was not actually asleep, it may be said he was 
learning all the time." 


" Are your discoveries often brilliant in- 
tuitions? Do they come to you while you are 
lying awake nights ? " I asked him. 

" I never did anything worth doing by acci- 
dent," he replied, " nor did any of my inven- 
tions come indirectly through accident, except 
the phonograph. 1 No, when I have fully de- 
cided that a result is worth getting, I go about 
it, and make trial after trial, until it comes. 

1 " I was singing to the mouthpiece of a telephone," 
said Edison, " when the vibrations of my voice caused a 
fine steel point to pierce one of my fingers held just be- 
hind it. That set me to thinking. If I could record 
the motions of the point and send it over the same sur- 
face afterward, I saw no reason why the thing would 
not talk. I determined to make a machine that would 
work accurately, and gave my assistants the necessary 
instructions, telling them what I had discovered. 
That's the whole story. The phonograph is the result 
of the pricking of a finger." 

2 35 

How They Succeeded 

" I have always kept," continued Mr. Edi- 
son, " strictly within the lines of commercially 
useful inventions. I have never had any time 
to put on electrical wonders, valuable only as 
novelties to catch the popular fancy." 


" What makes you work ? " I asked with 
real curiosity. " What impels you to this con- 
stant, tireless struggle? You have shown that 
you care comparatively nothing for the money 
it makes you, and you have no particular en- 
thusiasm for the attending fame. What is it ? " 

" I like it," he answered, after a moment of 
puzzled expression. " I don't know any other 
reason. Anything I have begun is always on 
my mind, and I am not easy while away from 
it, until it is finished ; and then I hate it." 

"Hate it?" I said. 

"Yes," he affirmed, "when it is all done 
and is a success, I can't bear the sight of it. 
I haven't used a telephone in ten years, and I 
would go out of my way any day to miss an 
incandescent light." * 

1 " After I have completed an invention," remarked 
Edison, upon another occasion, " I seem to lose interest 


Thomas A. Edison 


" You lay down rather severe rules for one 
who wishes to succeed in life," I ventured, 
" working eighteen hours a day." 

" Not at all," he said. " You do something 
all day long, don't you? Every one does. If 
you get up at seven o'clock and go to bed at 
eleven, you have put in sixteen good hours, 
and it is certain with most men, that they have 
been doing something all the time. They have 
been either walking, or reading, or writing, or 
thinking. The only trouble is that they do it 
about a great many things and I do it about 
one. If they took the time in question and 
applied it in one direction, to one object, they 
would succeed. Success is sure to follow such 

in it. One might think that the money value of an in- 
vention constitutes its reward to the man who loves his 
work. But, speaking for myself, I can honestly say 
this is not so. Life was never more full of joy to me, 
than when, a poor boy, I began to think out improve- 
ments in telegraphy, and to experiment with the cheap- 
est and crudest appliances. But now that I have all the 
appliances I need, and am my own master, I continue 
to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the 
work that precedes what the world calls success." 

2 37 

How They Succeeded 

application. The trouble lies in the fact that 
people do not have an object one thing to 
which they stick, letting all else go. Success 
is the product of the severest kind of mental 
and physical application." 


:< You believe, of course," I suggested, " that 
much remains to be discovered in the realm of 

" It is the field of fields," he answered. " We 
can't talk of that, but it holds the secrets which 
will reorganize the life of the world." 

" You have discovered much about it," I 
said, smiling. 

" Yes," he said, " and yet very little in com- 
parison with the possibilities that appear." 


" How many inventions have you pat^ 

"Only six hundred," he answered, "but I 
have made application for some three hundred 

" And do you expect to retire soon, after all 

" I hope not," he said, almost pathetically, 


Thomas A. Edison 

" I hope I will be able to work right on to the 
close. I shouldn't care to loaf." 


The idea of the great electrician's marrying 
was first suggested by an intimate friend, who 
told him that his large house and numerous 
servants ought to have a mistress. Although 
a very shy man, he seemed pleased with the 
proposition, and timidly inquired whom he 
should marry. The friend, annoyed at his ap- 
parent want of sentiment, somewhat testily re- 
plied, " Anyone." But Edison was not with- 
out sentiment when the time came. One day, 
as he stood behind the chair of a Miss Stillwell, 
a telegraph operator in his employ, he was not 
a little surprised when she suddenly turned 
round and said: 

" Mr. Edison, I can always tell when you are 
behind me or near me." 

It was now Miss Stillwell's turn to be sur- 
prised, for, with characteristic bluntness and 
ardor, Edison fronted the young lady, and, 
looking her full in the face, said : 

" I've been thinking considerably about you 
of late, and, if you are willing to marry me, I 
would like to marry you." 

2 39 

How They Succeeded 

The young lady said she would consider the 
matter, and talk it over with her mother. The 
result was that they were married a month later, 
and the union proved a very happy one. 

It was in fact no more an accident than other 
experiments in the Edison laboratory his 
bride having been long the subject of the Wiz- 
zard's observation her mental capacity, her 
temper and temperament, her aptitude for 
home-making being duly tested and noted. 


xv I 



IN his study, a curiously-shaped building 
lighted from the top, and combining in 
equal portions the Byzantine, Roman- 
esque and Doric styles of architecture, the gray- 
haired author of " Ben-Hur," surrounded by 
his pictures, books, and military trophies, is 
spending, in serene and comfortable retirement, 
the evening of his life. As I sat beside him, 
the other day, and listened to the recital of his 
earlier struggles and later achievements, I 
could not help contrasting his dignified bearing, 
careful expression, and gentle demeanor, with 
another occasion in his life, when, as a vigor- 
ous, black-haired young military officer, in the 
spring of 1861, he appeared, with flashing eye 
and uplifted sword, at the head of his regiment, 
the gallant and historic Eleventh Indiana Vol- 


How They Succeeded 

General Wallace never repels a visitor, and 
his greeting is cordial and ingenuous. 

" If I could say anything to stimulate or en- 
courage the young men of to-day/' he said, " I 
would gladly do so, but I fear that the story of 
my early days would be of very little interest 
or value to others. So far as school education 
is concerned, it may be truthfully said that I 
had but little, if any; and if, in spite of that 
deficiency, I ever arrived at proficiency, I 
reached it, I presume, as Topsy attained her 
stature, ' just growed into it.' ' 


" Were you denied early school advan- 
tages?" I asked. 

" Not in the least. On the contrary, I had 
most abundant opportunity in that respect. 

" My father was a lawyer, enjoying a lucra- 
tive practice in Brookville, Indiana, a small 
town which bears the distinction of having 
given to the world more prominent men than 
any other place in the Hoosier State. Not long 
after my birth, he was elected lieutenant-gov- 
ernor, and, finally, governor of the state. He, 
himself, was an educated man, having been 


General Lew Wallace 

graduated from the United States Military 
Academy at West Point, and having served as 
instructor in mathematics there. He was not 
only an educated man, but a man of advanced 
ideas generally, as shown by the fact that he 
failed of a re-election to congress in 1840, be- 
cause, as a member of the committee on com- 
merce, he gave the casting vote in favor of an 
appropriation to develop Morse's magnetic tele- 

" Of course, he believed in the value, and 
tried to impress upon me the necessity of a 
thorough school training. But, in the face of 
all the solicitude and encouragement which an 
indulgent father could waste on an unappre- 
ciative son, I remained vexatiously indifferent. 
I presume I was like some man in history, it 
was Lincoln, I believe, who said that his fa- 
ther taught him to work, but he never quite 
succeeded in teaching him to love it. 

" My father sent me to school, and regularly 
paid tuition, for in those days there were no 
free schools; but, much to my discredit, he 
failed to secure anything like regular attend- 
ance at recitations, or even a decent attempt to 
master my lessons at any time. In fact, much 
of the time that should have been given to 


How They Succeeded 

school was spent in fishing, hunting, and roam- 
ing through the woods." 


" But were you thus indifferent to all forms 
of education ? " 

" No, my case was not quite so hopeless as 
that. I did not desert the schools entirely, but 
my attendance was so provokingly irregular 
and my indifference so supreme, I wonder now 
that I was tolerated at all. But I had one 
mainstay; I loved to read. I was a most in- 
ordinate reader. In some lines of literature, 
especially history and some kinds of fiction, my 
appetite was insatiate, and many a day, while 
my companions were clustered together in the 
old red brick schoolhouse, struggling with 
their problems in fractions or percentage, I 
was carefully hidden in the woods near by, 
lying upon my elbows, munching an apple, and 
reveling in the beauties of Plutarch, Byron or 

" Did you not attend college, or the higher 
grade of schools ? " 

" Yes, for a brief period. My brother was 
a student in Wabash College, here in Craw- 


General Lew Wallace 

fordsville, and hither I also was sent; but 
within six weeks I had tired of the routine, was 
satiated with discipline, and made my exit from 
the institution. 

" I shall never forget what my father did 
when I returned home. He called me into his 
office, and, reaching into one of the pigeon- 
holes above his desk, withdrew therefrom a 
package of papers neatly folded and tied with 
the conventional red tape. He was a very sys- 
tematic man, due, perhaps, to his West Point 
training, and these papers proved to be the re- 
ceipts for my tuition, which he had carefully 
preserved. He called off the items, and asked 
me to add them together. The total, I con- 
fess, staggered me. 


" ' That sum, my son/ he said, with a tone 
of regret in his voice, ' represents what I have 
expended in these many years past to provide 
you with a good education. How successful I 
have been, you know better than anyone else/ 

" * After mature reflection, I have come to 
the conclusion that I have done for you in that 
direction all that can reasonably be expected of 
any parent ; and I have, therefore, called you in 


How They Succeeded 

to tell you that you have now reached an age 
when you must take up the lines yourself. If 
you have failed to profit by the advantages 
with which I have tried so hard to surround 
you, the responsibility must be yours. I shall 
not upbraid you for your neglect, but rather 
pity you for the indifference which you have 
shown to the golden opportunities you have, 
through my indulgence, been enabled to en- 



" What effect did his admonition have on 
you ? Did it awaken or arouse you ? " 

" It aroused me, most assuredly. It set me 
to thinking as nothing before had done. The 
next day, I set out with a determination to ac- 
complish something for myself. My father's 
injunction rang in my ears. New responsibili- 
ties rested on my shoulders, as I was, for the 
first time in my life, my own master. I felt 
that I must get work on my own account. 

" After much effort, I finally obtained em- 
ployment from the man with whom I had 
passed so many afternoons strolling up and 
down the little streams in the neighborhood, 
trying to fish. He was the county clerk, and 


General Lew Wallace 

he hired me to copy what was known as the 
complete record of one of the courts. I 
worked for months in a dingy, half-lighted 
room, receiving for my pay something like ten 
cents per hundred words. The tediousness 


and taught me the virtue of persistence as one 
of the avenues of success. It was at this time 
I began to realize the deficiency in my educa- 
tion, especially as I had an ambition to become 
a lawyer. Being deficient in both mathematics 
and grammar, / was forced to study evenings. 
Of course, the latter was a very exacting study, 
after a full day's hard work; but I was made 
to realize that the time I had spent with such 
lavish prodigality could not be recovered, and 
that I must extract every possible good out of 
the golden moments then flying by all too fast." 


" Had you a distinct literary ambition at 
that time?" 

" Well, I had always had a sort of literary 


How They Succeeded 

bent or inclination. I read all the literature 
of the day, besides the standard authors, and 
finally began to devote my odd moments to a 
book of my own, a tale based on the days of 
the crusades. When completed, it covered 
about three hundred and fifty pages, and bore 
the rather high-sounding title, ' The Man-at- 
Arms/ I read a good portion of it before a 
literary society to which I belonged ; the mem- 
bers applauded it, and I was frequently urged 
to have it published. 

" The Mexican War soon followed, how- 
ever, and I took the manuscript with me when 
I enlisted. But before the close of my service 
it was lost, and my production, therefore, never 
reached the public eye." 

" But did not the approval which the book 
received from the few persons who read it en- 
courage you to continue writing? " 

" Fully fifty years have elapsed since then, 
and it is, therefore, rather difficult, at this late 
day, to recall just how such things affected me. 
I suppose I was encouraged thereby, for, in 
due course of time, another book which turned 
out to be 


General Lew Wallace 

my first book to reach the public, began to 
shape itself in my mind. The composition of 
this work was not, as the theatrical people 
would say, a continuous performance, for there 
were many and singular interruptions; and it 
would be safe to say that months, and, in one 
case, years, intervened between certain chap- 
ters. A few years after the war, I finished the 
composition, strung the chapters into a con- 
tinuous narrative, leveled up the uneven places, 
and started East with the manuscript. A let- 
ter from Whitelaw Reid, then editor of the 
New York Tribune, introduced me to the 
head of one of the leading publishing houses 
in Boston. There I was kindly received, and 
delivered my manuscript, which was referred 
to a professional reader, to determine its lit- 
erary, and also, I presume, its commercial 

" It would be neither a new nor an interest- 
ing story to acquaint the public with the degree 
of anxious suspense that pervaded my mind 
when I withdrew to await the reader's judg- 
ment. Every other writer has, I assume, at one 
time or another, undergone much the same ex- 


How They Succeeded 

perience. It was not long until I learned from 
the publisher that the reader reported in favor 
of my production. Publication soon followed, 
and for the first time, in a literary sense, I 
found myself before the public, and my book 
before the critics." 


" How long after this did ' Ben-Hur ' ap- 
pear, and what led you to write it ? " 

" I began ' Ben-Hur ' about 1876, and it was 
published in 1880. The purpose, at first, was 
a short serial for one of the magazines, de- 
scriptive of the visit of the wise men to Jeru- 
salem as mentioned in the first two verses of 
the second chapter of Matthew. It will be 
recognized in ' Book First ' of the work as now 
published. For certain reasons, however, the 
serial idea was abandoned, and the narrative, 
instead of ending with the birth of the Saviour, 
expanded into a more pretentious novel and 
only ended with the death scene on Calvary. 
The last ten chapters were written in the old 
adobe palace at Santa Fe, New Mexico, where 
I was serving as governor. 

" It is difficult to answer the question, ' what 
led me to write the book ; ' or why I chose a 


General Lew Wallace 

piece of fiction which used Christ as its lead- 
ing character. In explanation, it is proper to 
state that I had reached an age in life when 
men usually begin to study themselves with 
reference to their fellowmen, and reflect on the 
good they may have done in the world. Up to 
that time, never having read the Bible, I knew 
nothing about sacred history; and, in matters 
of a religious nature, although I was not in 
every respect an infidel, I was persistently and 
notoriously indifferent. / did not know, and 
therefore, did not care. I resolved to begin the 
study of the good book in earnest. 


" I was in quest of knowledge, but I had no 
faith to sustain, no creed to bolster up. The 
result was that the whole field of religious and 
biblical history opened up before me; and, my 
vision not being clouded by previously formed 
opinions, I was enabled to survey it without the 
aid of lenses. I believe I was thorough and per- 
sistent. I know I was conscientious in my 
search for the truth. I weighed, I analyzed, I 
counted and compared. The evolution from 
conjecture into knowledge, through opinion 


How They Succeeded 

and belief, was gradual but irresistible; and at 
length I stood firmly and defiantly on the solid 

" Upward of seven hundred thousand copies 
of ' Ben-Hur ' have been published, and it has 
been translated into all languages from French 
to Arabic. But, whether it has ever influenced 
the mind of a single reader or not, I am sure 
its conception and preparation if it has done 
nothing more have convinced its author of the 
divinity of the lowly Nazarene who walked and 
talked with God." 


xvi I ..;. I .";;;;;; 

Carnegie as a Metal Worker 

THERE is no doubt," said Mr. Car- 
negie, in reply to a question from 
me, " that it is becoming harder 
and harder, as business gravitates more and 
more to immense concerns, for a young man 
without capital to get a start for himself, 
and in the large cities it is especially so, 
where large capital is essential. Still it 
can be honestly said that there is no 
other country in the world, where able and 
energetic young men and women can so readily 
rise as in this. A president of a business col- 
lege informed me, recently, that he has never 
been able to supply the demand for capable, 
first-class [Mark the adjective.] bookkeepers, 
and his college 'has over nine hundred students. 
In America, young men of ability rise with 
most astonishing rapidity." 

"As quickly as when you were a boy?" 


How They Succeeded 

" Much more so. When I was a boy, there 
were but very few important positions that a 
boy could aspire to. Every position had to be 
made. Now a boy doesn't need to make the 
place, all he has to do is to fit himself to take 


" Where did you begin life? '" 

" In Dunfermline, Scotland, during my ear- 
liest years. The service of my life has all been 
in this country." 


" Largely so. My father settled in Alle- 
gheny City, when I was only ten years old, and 
I began to earn my way in Pittsburg." 

" Do you mind telling me what your first 
service was ? " 

" Not at all. I was a bobbin boy in a cotton 
factory, then an engine-man or boy in the same 
place, and later still I was a messenger boy for 
a telegraph company." 

" At small wages, I suppose? " 

" One dollar and twenty cents a week was 
what I received as a bobbin boy, and I consid- 
ered it pretty good, at that. When I was thir- 
teen, I had learned to run a steam engine, and 


Andrew Carnegie 

for that I received a dollar and eighty cents a 


" You had no early schooling, then ? " 
" None except such as I gave myself." 


" There were no fine libraries then, but in 
Allegheny City, where I lived, there was a 
certain Colonel Anderson, who was well to do 
and of a philanthropic turn. He announced, 
about the time I first began to work, that he 
would be in his library at home, every Satur- 
day, ready to lend books to working boys and 
men. He had only about four hundred vol- 
umes, but I doubt if ever so few books were put 
to better use. Only he who has longed, as I 
did for Saturday to come, that the spring of 
knowledge might be opened anew to him, can 
understand what Colonel Anderson did for me 
and others of the boys of Allegheny. Quite a 
number of them have risen to eminence, and I 
think their rise can be easily traced to this 
splendid opportunity." * 

1 It was Colonel Anderson's kindness that led Carne- 
gie to bestow his wealth so generously for founding 
libraries, as he is now doing every year. 

2 5S 

How They Succeeded 


" How long did you remain an engine- 

" Not very long," Mr. Carnegie replied ; 
" perhaps a year." 

"And then?" 

" I entered a telegraph office as a messenger 

Although Mr. Carnegie did not dwell much 
on this period, he once described it at a dinner 
given in honor of the American Consul at Dun- 
fermline, Scotland, when he said: 

" I awake from a dream that has carried me 
away back to the days of my boyhood, the day 
when the little white-haired Scottish laddie, 
dressed in a blue jacket, walked with his father 
into the telegraph office in Pittsburg to undergo 
examination as an applicant for a position as 
messenger boy. 

" Well I remember when my uncle spoke to 
my parents about it, and my father objected, 
because I was then getting one dollar and 
eighty cents per week for running the small 
engine in a cellar in Allegheny City, but my 
uncle said a messenger's wages would be two 
dollars and fifty cents ... If you want 
an idea as to heaven on earth, imagine what it 


Andrew Carnegie 

is to be taken from a dark cellar, where I fired 
the boiler from morning until night, and drop- 
ped into an office, where light shone from all 
sides, with books, papers, and pencils in pro- 
fusion around me, and oh, the tick of those 
mysterious brass instruments on the desk, an- 
nihilating space and conveying intelligence to 
the world. This was my first glimpse of para- 
dise, and I walked on air." 

" How did you manage to rise from this 
position? " 

" I learned how to operate a telegraph in- 
strument, and then waited an opportunity to 
show that I was fit to be an operator. Eventu- 
ally my chance came." 

The truth is that James D. Reid, the super- 
intendent of the office, and himself a Scotch- 
man, favored the ambitious lad. In his " His- 
tory of the Telegraph," he says of him : 

" I liked the boy's looks, and it was easy to 
see that, though he was little, he was full of 
spirit. He had not been with me a month when 
he asked me to teach him to telegraph. He 
spent all his spare time in practice, sending and 
receiving by sound and not by tape, as was the 
custom in those days. Pretty soon he could do 
as well as I could at. the key." 

2 57 

How They Succeeded 


"As you look back upon it," I said to Mr. 
Carnegie, " do you consider that so lowly a 
beginning is better than one a little less 

" For young men starting upon their life 
work, it is much the best to begin as I did, at 
the beginning, and occupy the most subordinate 
positions. Many of the present-day leading 
men of Pittsburg, had serious responsibility 
thrust upon them at the very threshold of their 
careers. They were introduced to the broom, 
and spent the first hours of their business life 
sweeping out the office. I notice we have jani- 
tors and janitresses now in offices, and our 
young men, unfortunately, miss that salutary 
branch of early education. It does not hurt the 
newest comer to sweep out the office." 

"Did you?" 

"Many's the time. And who do you suppose 
were my fellow sweepers? David McBargo, 
afterwards superintendent of the Allegheny 
Valley Railroad; Robert Pitcairn, afterwards 
superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad; 
and Mr. Mooreland, subsequently City At- 
torney of Pittsburg. We all took turns, two 


Andrew Carnegie 

each morning doing the sweeping; and now I 
remember Davie was so proud of his clean 
shirt bosom that he used to spread over it an old 
silk handkerchief which he kept for the pur- 
pose, and we other boys thought he was put- 
ting on airs. So he was. None of us had a silk 

" After you had learned to telegraph, did you 
consider that you had reached high enough?" 

" Just at that time my father died, and the 
burden of the support of the family fell upon 
me. I earned as an operator twenty-five dol- 
lars a month, and a little additional money by 
copying telegraphic messages for the news- 
papers, and managed to keep the family inde- 


More light on this period of Mr. Carnegie's 
career is given by the " Electric Age/' which 
says: " As a telegraph operator he was abreast 
of older and experienced men; and, although 
receiving messages by sound was, at that time, 
forbidden by authority as being unsafe, young 
Carnegie quickly acquired the art, and he can 
still stand behind the ticker and understand 
its language. As an operator, he delighted in 


How They Succeeded 

full employment and the prompt discharge of 
business, and a big day's work was his chief 

" How long did you remain with the tele- 
graph company ? " 

" Until I was given a place by the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad Company." 

" As an operator ? " 

" At first, until I showed how the telegraph 
could minister to railroad safety and success; 
then I was made secretary to Thomas A. Scott, 
the superintendent; and not long afterwards, 
when Colonel Scott became vice-president, I 
was made superintendent of the western 

Colonel Scott's attention was drawn to Car- 
negie by the operator's devising a plan for run- 
ning trains by telegraph, so making the most 
of a single track. Up to this time no one had 
ever dreamed of running trains in opposite di- 
rections, towards each other, directing them by 
telegraph, one train being sidetracked while the 
other passed. The boy studied out a train- 
despatching system which was afterwards used 
on every single-track railroad in the country. 
Nobody had ever thought of this before, and 
the officials were so pleased with the ingenious 


Andrew Carnegie 

lad, that they placed him in charge of a division 
office, and before he was twenty made him su- 
perintendent of the western division of the 


Concerning this period of his life, I asked 
Mr. Carnegie if his promotion was not a matter 
of chance, and whether he did not, at the time, 
feel it to be so. His answer was emphatic. 

" Never. Young men give all kinds of rea- 
sons why, in their cases, failure is attributable 
to exceptional circumstances, which rendered 
success impossible. Some never had a chance, 
according to their own story. This is simply 
nonsense. No young man ever lived who had 
not a chance, and a splendid chance, too, if he 
was ever employed at all. He is assayed in the 
mind of his immediate superior, from the day 
he begins work, and, after a time, if he has 
merit, he is assayed in the council chambers of 
the firm. His ability, honesty, habits, associ- 
ations, temper, disposition, all these are 
weighed and analyzed. The young man who 
never had a chance is the same young man who 
has been canvassed over and over again by his 
superiors, and found destitute of necessary 


How They Succeeded 

qualifications, or is deemed unworthy of closer 
relations with the firm, owing to some objec- 
tionable act, habit or association, of which he 
thought his employers ignorant." 

" It sounds true." 

" It is." 


"Another class of young men attributes 
failure to rise to employers having near 
relatives or favorites whom they advance un- 
fairly. They also insist that their employers 
dislike brighter intelligences than their own, 
and are disposed to discourage aspiring genius, 
and delighted in keeping young men down. 
There is nothing in this. On the contrary, there 
is no one suffering more for lack of the right 
man in the right place as the average employer, 
nor anyone more anxious to find him." 

" Was this your theory on the subject when 
you began working for the railroad company ? " 

" I had no theory then, although I have 
formulated one since. It lies mainly in this: 
Instead of the question, ' What must I do for 
my employer ? ' substitute, ' What can I do ? ' 
Faithful and conscientious discharge of duties 
assigned you is all very well, but the verdict in 


Andrew Carnegie 

such cases generally is that you perform your 
present duties so well, that you would better 
continue performing them. Now, this will not 
do. It will not do for the coming partners. 
There must be something beyond this. We 
make clerks, bookkeepers, treasurers, bank tel- 
lers of this class, and there they remain to the 
end of the chapter. The rising man must do 
something exceptional, and beyond the range 
of his special department. He mu*st attract at- 


"How can he do that?" 

" Well, if he is a shipping clerk, he may do 
so by discovering in an invoice an error with 
which he has nothing to do and which has es- 
caped the attention of the proper party. If a 
weighing clerk, he may save for the firm in 
questioning the adjustment of the scales, and 
having them corrected, even if this be the prov- 
ince of the master mechanic. If a messenger 
boy, he can lay the seed of promotion by going 
beyond the letter of his instructions in order 
to secure the desired reply. There is no service 
so low and simple, neither any so high, in which 
the young man of ability and willing disposi- 


How They Succeeded 

tion cannot readily and almost daily prove him- 
self capable of greater trust and usefulness, 
and, what is equally important, show his invin- 
cible determination to rise." 

" In what manner did you reach out to es- 
tablish your present great fortune?" I asked. 

" By saving my money. I put a little money 
aside, and it served me later as a matter of 
credit. Also, I invested in a sleeping-car in- 
dustry, which paid me well." 


Although I tried earnestly to get the great 
iron-king to talk of this, he said little, because 
the matter has been fully dealt with by him in 
his " Triumphant Democracy." From his own 
story there, it appears that one day at this time, 
when Mr. Carnegie still had his fortune to 
make, he was on a train examining the line 
from a rear window of a car, when a tall, spare 
man, accosted him and asked him to look at an 
invention he had made. He drew from a green 
bag a small model of a sleeping-berth for rail- 
way cars, and proceeded to point out its ad- 
vantages. It was Mr. T. T. Woodruff, the in- 
ventor of the sleeping-car. As Mr. Carnegie 
tells the story: 


Andrew Carnegie 

" He had not spoken a moment before, like 
a flash, the whole range of the discovery burst 
upon me. ' Yes/ I said, ' that is something 
which this continent must have/ 

" Upon my return, I laid it before Mr. Scott, 
declaring that it was one of the inventions of 
the age. He remarked : ' You are enthusias- 
tic, young man, but you may ask the inventor 
to come and let me see it.' I did so, and ar- 
rangements were made to build two trial cars, 
and run them on the Pennsylvania Railroad. I 
was offered an interest in the venture, which 
I gladly accepted. 

" The notice came that my share of the first 
payment was $217.50. How well I remember 
the exact sum. But two hundred and seventeen 
dollars and a half were as far beyond my means 
as if it had been millions. I was earning fifty 
dollars per month, however, and had prospects, 
or at least I always felt that I had. I decided to 
call on the local banker and boldly ask him to 
advance the sum upon my interest in the affair. 
He put his hand on my shoulder and said: 
* Why, of course, Andie ; you are all right. Go 
ahead. Here is the money/ 

" It is a proud day for a man when he pays 
his last note, but not to be named in comparison 


How They Succeeded 

with the day in which he makes his first one, and 
gets a banker to take it. I have tried both, and I 
know. The cars furnished the subsequent pay- 
ments by their earnings. I paid my first note 
from my savings, so much per month, and thus 
I got my foot upon fortune's ladder. It was 
easy to climb after that." 


" I would like some expression from you," 
I said to Mr. Carnegie, " in reference to the 
importance of laying aside money from one's 
earnings, as a young man." 

" You can have it. There is one sure mark 
of the coming partner, the future millionaire; 
his revenues always exceed his expenditures. 
He begins to save early, almost as soon as he 
begins to earn. I should say to young men, 
no matter how little it may be possible to save, 
save that little. Invest it securely, not neces- 
sarily in bonds, but in anything which you have 
good reason to believe will be profitable. Some 
rare chance will soon present itself for invest- 
ment. The little you have saved will prove the 
basis for an amount of credit utterly surpris- 
ing to you. Capitalists trust the saving man. 
For every hundred dollars you can produce as 


Andrew Carnegie 

the result of hard-won savings, Midas, in 
search of a partner, will lend or credit a thou- 
sand ; for every thousand, fifty thousand. It is 
not capital that your seniors require, it is the 
man who has proved that he has the business 
habits which create capital. So it is the first 
hundred dollars that tell." 


" What," I asked Mr. Carnegie, " was the 
next enterprise with which you identified your- 

" In company with several others, I pur- 
chased the now famous Storey farm, on Oil 
Creek, Pennsylvania, where a well had been 
bored and natural oil struck the year before. 
This proved a very profitable investment." 

In " Triumphant Democracy," Mr. Carnegie 
has expatiated most fully on this venture, 
which is so important. " When I first visited 
this famous well," he says, " the oil was run- 
ning into the creek, where a few flat-bottomed 
scows lay filled with it, ready to be floated 
down the Alleghany River, on an agreed-upon 
day each week, when the creek was flooded by 
means of a temporary dam. This was the be- 
ginning of the natural-oil business. We pur- 


How They Succeeded 

chased the farm for $40,000, and so small was 
our faith in the ability of the earth to yield for 
any considerable time the hundred barrels per 
day, which the property was then producing, 
that we decided to make a pond capable of 
holding one hundred thousand barrels of oil, 
which, we estimated, would be worth, when the 
supply ceased, $1,000,000. 

" Unfortunately for us, the pond leaked fear- 
fully; evaporation also caused much loss, but 
we continued to run oil in to make the losses 
good day after day, until several hundred thou- 
sand barrels had gone in this fashion. Our 
experience with the farm is worth reciting: 
its value rose to $5,000,000; that is the shares 
of the company sold in the market upon this 
basis; and one year it paid cash dividends of 
$1,000,000 upon an investment of $40,000." 


" Were you satisfied to rest with these enter- 
prises in your hands ? " I asked. 

" No. Railway bridges were then built al- 
most exclusively of wood, but the Pennsylvania 
Railroad had begun to experiment with cast- 
iron. It struck me that the bridge of the future 
must be of iron; and I organized, in Pittsburg, 


Andrew Carnegie 

a company for the construction of iron bridges. 
That was the Keystone Bridge Works. We 
built the first iron bridge across the Ohio." 

His entrance of the realm of steel was much 
too long for Mr. Carnegie to discuss, although 
he was not unwilling to give information re- 
lating to the subject. It appears that he realized 
the immensity of the steel manufacturing busi- 
ness at once. The Union Iron Mills soon fol- 
lowed as one of the enterprises, and, later, the 
famous Edgar Thompson Steel Rail Mill. The 
last was the outcome of a visit to England, in 
1868, when Carnegie noticed that English rail- 
ways were discarding iron for steel rails. The 
Bessemer process had been then perfected, and 
was making its way in all the iron-producing 
countries. Carnegie, recognizing that it was 
destined to revolutionize the iron business, in- 
troduced it into his mills and made steel rails 
with which he was enabled to compete with 
English manufacturers. 


His next enterprise was the purchase of the 
Homestead Steel Works, his great rival in 
Pittsburg. In 1888, he had built or acquired 
seven distinct iron and steel works, all of which 


How They Succeeded 

are now included in the Carnegie Steel Com- 
pany, Limited. All the plants of this great firm 
are within a radius of five miles of Pittsburg. 
Probably in no other part of the world can be 
found such an aggregation of splendidly equip- 
ped steel works as those controlled by this asso- 
ciation. It now comprises the Homestead 
Steel Works, the Edgar Thompson Steel 
Works and Furnaces, the Duquesne Steel 
Works and Furnaces, all within two miles of 
one another; the Lucy Furnaces, the Keystone 
Bridge Works, the Upper Union Rolling Mills, 
and the Lower Union Rolling Mills. 

In all branches, including the great coke 
works, mines, etc., there are employed twenty- 
five thousand men. The monthly pay roll ex- 
ceeds one million, one hundred and twenty-five 
thousand dollars, or nearly fifty thousand dol- 
lars for each working day. Including the Frick 
Coke Company, the united capital of the Car- 
negie Steel Company exceeds sixty million 


" You believe in taking active measures," I 
said, " to make men successful." 


Andrew Carnegie 

" I believe in anything which will help men 
to help themselves. To induce them to save, 
every workman in our company is allowed to 
deposit part of his earnings, not exceeding two 
thousand dollars, with the firm, on which the 
high interest rate of six per cent, is allowed. 
The firm also lends to any of its workmen to 
buy a lot, or to build a house, taking its pay by 

" Has this contributed to the success of your 
company? " 

" I think so. The policy of giving a per- 
sonal interest to the men who render excep- 
tional service is strengthening. With us there 
are many such, and every year several more 
are added as partners. It is the policy of the 
concern to interest every superintendent in the 
works, every head of a department, every ex- 
ceptional young man. Promotion follows ex- 
ceptional service, and there is no favoritism." 


" All you have said so far, merely gives the 
idea of getting money, without any suggestion 
as to the proper use of great wealth. Will you 
say something on that score? " 


How They Succeeded 

" My views are rather well known, I think. 
What a man owns is already subordinate, in 
America, to what he knows; but in the final 
aristocracy, the question will not be either of 
these, but what has he done for his fellows? 
Where has he shown generosity and self-ab- 
negation? Where has he been a father to the 
fatherless? And the cause of the poor, where 
has he searched that out?" 

That Mr. Carnegie has lived up in the past, 
and is still living up to this radical declaration 
of independence from the practice of men who 
have amassed fortunes around him, will be best 
shown by a brief enumeration of some of his 
almost unexampled philanthropies. His larg- 
est gift has been to the city of Pittsburg, the 
scene of his early trials and later triumphs. 
There he has built, at a cost of more than a 
million dollars, a magnificent library, museum, 
concert hall and picture gallery, all under one 
roof, and endowed it with a fund of another mil- 
lion, the interest of which (fifty thousand dol- 
lars per annum) is being devoted to the pur- 
chase of the best works of American art. Other 
libraries, to be connected with this largest as a 
center, are now being constructed, which will 
make the city of Pittsburg and its environs a 


Andrew Carnegie 

beneficiary of his generosity to the extent of 
five million dollars. 

While thus endowing the city where his for- 
tune was made, he has not forgotten other 
places endeared to him by association or by 
interest. To the Allegheny Free Library he 
has given $375,000; to the Braddock Free Li- 
brary, $250,000; to the Johnstown Free Li- 
brary, $50,000; and to the Fairfield (Iowa) 
Library, $40,000. To the Cooper Institute, 
New York, he has given $300,000. To his na- 
tive land he has been scarcely less generous. To 
the Edinburgh Free Library he has given 
$250,000, and to his native town of Dunferm- 
line, $90,000. Other Scottish towns to the 
number of ten have received helpful donations 
of amounts not quite so large. He has given 
$50,000 to aid poor young men and women 
to gain a musical education at the Royal Col- 
lege of Music in London. 


" I should like to cause you to say some other 
important things for young men to learn and 
benefit by." 

" Our young partners in the Carnegie com- 


How They Succeeded 

pany have all won their spurs by showing that 
we did not know half as well what was wanted 
as they did. Some of them have acted upon 
occasions with me as if they owned the firm 
and I was but some airy New Yorker, presum- 
ing to advise upon what I knew very little 
about. Well, they are not now interfered with. 
They were the true bosses, the very men we 
were looking for." 

" Is this all for the poor boy? " 

" Every word. Those who have the mis- 
fortune to be rich men's sons are heavily 
weighted in the race. A basketful of bonds 
is the heaviest basket a young man ever had to 
carry. He generally gets to staggering under 
it. The vast majority of rich men's sons are 
unable to resist the temptations to which wealth 
subjects them, and they sink to unworthy lives. 
It is not from this class that the poor beginner 
has rivalry to fear. The partner's sons will never 
trouble you much, but look out that some boys 
poorer, much poorer, than yourselves, whose 
parents cannot afford to give them any school- 
ing, do not challenge you at the post and pass 
you at the grand stand. Look out for the boy 
who has to plunge into work direct from the 


Andrew Carnegie 

common school, and begins by sweeping out 
the office. He is the probable dark horse that 
will take all the money and win all the ap- 
plause." 1 

1 Mr. Carnegie's recent retirement from business, and 
the sale of his vast properties to the Morgan Syndicate, 
marks a new era in his remarkable career; and it gives 
him the more leisure to consider carefully every 
dollar he bestows in the series of magnificent charities 
that he has inaugurated. 



Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 


Total eclipse; no sun, no moon; 
Darkness amid the blaze of noon! MILTON 

AMID the ranks of the blind, we often 
find men and women of culture and 
general ability, but we do not look for 
world-renowned specialists. No one is sur- 
prised at a display of enterprise in a " boom- 
ing " western town, where everybody is " hust- 
ling; " but in a place which has once ranked as 
the third seaport in America, but has seen its 
maritime glory decline, a man who can estab- 
lish a marine industry on a higher plane than 
was ever before known, and attract to his work 
such world-wide attention as to restore the 
vanished fame of his town, is no ordinary per- 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

son. Moreover, if such a man has laid his 
plans and done his work in the disheartening 
eclipse of total blindness, he must possess quali- 
ties of the highest order. 

The office of the Herreshoff Manufacturing 
Company, at Bristol, Rhode Island, is in a 
building that formerly belonged to the Burn- 
side Rifle Company. It is substantial, but un- 
pretentious, and is entered by a short stairway 
on one side. The furniture throughout is also 
plain, but has been selected with excellent 
taste, and is suggestive of the most effective 
adaptation of means to ends in every detail. 
On the mantel and on the walls are numerous 
pictures, most of them of vessels, but very few 
relating directly to any of the great races for 
the " America's " cup. The first picture to 
arrest one's attention, indeed, is an excellent 
portrait of the late General Ambrose E. Burn- 
side, who lived in Bristol, and was an intimate 
friend of John B. Herreshoff. 

Previous inquiry had elicited the informa- 
tion that the members of the firm are very busy 
with various large orders, in addition to the 
rush of work on Cup Defenders; so it was a 
very agreeable surprise when I was invited into 
the tasteful private office, where the blind presi- 

How They Succeeded 

dent siat, having just concluded a short conver- 
sation with an attorney. 


" Well, sir/' said he, rising and grasping my 
hand cordially, " what do you wish ? " 

" I realize how very busy you must be, Mr. 
Herreshoff," I replied, and will try to be as 
brief as possible; but I venture to ask a few 
minutes of your time, to obtain suggestions and 
advice from you to young people." 

" But why select me, in particular, as an ad- 
viser? " 

This was " a poser,'* at first, especially when 
he added, noting my hesitation : 

" We are frequently requested to give inter- 
views in regard to our manufacturing business ; 
but, since as it is the settled policy of our house 
to do our work just as well as we possibly can 
and then leave it to speak for itself, we have 
felt obliged to decline all these requests. It 
would be repugnant to our sense of propriety 
to talk in public about our special industry. 
' Let the work show ! ' seems to us a good 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 


"True," said I. "But the readers of my 
books may not care to read of cutters or 
' skimming dishes/ center-boards or fin keels, or 
copper coils versus steel tubes for boilers. They 
leave the choice in such matters to you, real- 
izing that you have always proved equal to the 
situation. What I want now is advice in regard 
to the race of life, the voyage in which each 
youth must be his own captain, but in which 
the words of others who have successfully 
sailed the sea before will help to avoid rocks 
and shoals, and to profit by favoring currents 
and trade winds. You have been handicapped 
in an unusual degree, sailing in total darkness 
and beset by many other difficulties, but have, 
nevertheless, made a very prosperous voyage. 
In overcoming such serious obstacles, you must 
have learned much of the true philosophy of 
both success and failure, and I think you will 
be willing to help the young with suggestions 
drawn from your experience." 

" I always want to help young people, or old 
people, either, for that matter, if anything I 
can say will do so. But what can I say ? " 


How They Succeeded 


" What do you call the prime requisite of 
success ? " 

" I shall have to answer that by a somewhat 
humorous but very shrewd suggestion of an- 
other, select a good mother. Especially for 
boys, I consider an intelligent, affectionate but 
considerate mother an almost indispensable 
requisite to the highest success. If you would 
improve the rising generation to the utmost, 
appeal first to the mothers." 

"In what way?" 

" Above all things else, show them that rea- 
sonable self-denial is a thousandfold better for 
a boy than to have his every wish gratified. 
Teach them to encourage industry, economy, 
concentration of attention and purpose, and in- 
domitable persistence." 

" But most mothers try to do this, don't 

" Yes, in a measure ; but many of them, per- 
haps most of them, do not emphasize the mat- 
ter half enough. A mother may wish to teach 
all these lessons to her son, but she thinks too 
much of him, or believes she does, to have him 
suffer any deprivation, and so indulges him in 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

things which are luxuries for him, under the 
circumstances, rather than necessaries. Many 
a boy, born with ordinary intellect, would fol- 
low the example of an industrious father, were 
it not that his mother wishes him to appear as 
well as any boy in the neighborhood. So, with- 
out exactly meaning it, she gets to making a 
show of her boy, and brings him up with a 
habit of idling away valuable time, to keep up 
appearances. The prudent mother, however, 
sees the folly of this course, and teaches her 
son to excel in study and work, rather than in 
vain display. The difference in mothers makes 
all the difference in the world to children, who 
like brooks, can be turned very easily in their 
course of life." 


" What ranks next in importance? " 
" Boys and girls themselves, especially as 
they grow older, and have a chance to under- 
stand what life means, should not only help 
their parents as a matter of duty, but should 
learn to help themselves, for their own good. 
I would not have them forego recreation, a 
reasonable amount every day, but let them 
learn the reality and earnestness of existence, 


How They Succeeded 

and resolve to do the whole work and the very 
best work of thorough, reliable young men and 


" What would you advise as to choosing a 
career ? " 

" In that I should be governed largely by 
the bent of each youth. What he likes to do 
best of all, that he should do; and he should 
try to do it better than anyone else. That is 
legitimate emulation. Let him devote his full 
energy to his work; with the provision, how- 
ever, that he needs change or recreation more 
in proportion as he uses his brain more. The 
more muscular the work, if not too heavy, the 
more hours, is a good rule: the more brain 
work, the fewer hours; Children at school 
should not be expected to work so long or so 
hard as if engaged in manual labor. Tempera- 
ment, too, should be considered. A highly or- 
ganized, nervous person, like a racehorse, may 
display intense activity for a short time, but it 
should be followed by a long period of rest; 
while the phlegmatic person, like the ox or the 
draft horse, can go all day without injury." 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 


" I believe in education most thoroughly, and 
think no one can have too much knowledge, if 
properly digested. But in many of our col- 
leges, I have often thought, not more than one 
in five is radically improved by the course. 
Most collegiates waste too much time in frivol- 
ity, and somehow there seems to be little re- 
straining power in the college to prevent this. 
I agree that students should have self-restraint 
and application themselves, but, in the absence 
of these, the college should supply more com- 
pulsion than is now the rule." 


" Do you favor reviving the old apprentice 
system for would-be mechanics?" 

" Only in rare cases. As a rule, we have 
special machines now that do as perfect work 
as the market requires; some of them, indeed, 
better work than can be done by hand. A boy 
or man can soon learn to tend one of these, 
when he becomes, for ordinary purposes, a spe- 
cialist. Very few shops now have apprentices. 
No rule, however, will apply to all, and it may 
still be best for one to serve an apprenticeship 


How They Succeeded 

in a trade in which he wishes to advance be- 
yond any predecessor or competitor." 


" Is success dependent more upon ability or 
opportunity? " 

" Of course, opportunity is necessary. You 
couldn't run a mammoth department store on 
the desert of Sahara. But, given the possi- 
bility, the right man can make his opportunity, 
and should do so, if it is not at hand, or does 
not come, after reasonable waiting. Even Na- 
poleon had to wait for his. On the other hand, 
if there is no ability, none can display itself, 
and the best opportunity must pass by unim- 
proved. The true way is to first develop your 
ability to the last ounce, and then you will be 
ready for your opportunity, when it comes, or 
to make one, if none offers." 


" Is the chance for a youth as good as it was 
twenty-five or fifty years ago ? " 

" Yes, and no. In any country, as it be- 
comes more thickly populated, the chance for 
purely individual enterprises is almost sure to 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

diminish. One notices this more as he travels 
through other and older countries, where, far 
more than with us, boys follow in the foot- 
steps of their fathers, generation after genera- 
tion. But for those who are willing to adapt 
themselves to circumstances, the chance, to- 
day, at least from a pecuniary standpoint, is 
better than ever before, for those starting in 
life. There was doubtless more chance for the 
individual boat-builder, in the days of King 
Philip, when each Indian made his own canoe; 
but there is certainly more profit now for an 
employee of our firm of boat-builders." 


" Granted, however, that he can find employ- 
ment, how do his chances of rising compare 
with those of your youth ? " 

" They still depend largely upon the indi- 
vidual. Some seem to have natural executive 
ability, and others develop it, while most men 
never possess it. Those who lack it cannot 
hope to rise far, and never could. Jefferson's 
idea that all men are created equal is true 
enough, perhaps, so far as their political rights 
are concerned, but from the point of view of 
efficiency in business, it is ridiculous. In any 


How They Succeeded 

shop of one hundred men, you will find one 
who is acknowledged, at least tacitly, as the 
leader, and he sooner or later becomes so in 
fact. A rich boy may get and hold a place in 
an office, on account of his wealth or influence ; 
but in the works, merit alone will enable a man 
to hold a place long." 


" But what is his chance of becoming a pro- 

" That is smaller, of course, as establish- 
ments grow larger and more valuable. It is all 
bosh for every man to expect to become a Van- 
derbilt or a Rockefeller, or to be President. 
But, in the long run, a man will still rise and 
prosper in almost exact proportion to his real 
value to the business world. He will rise or fall 
according to his ability." 

" Can he develop ability ? " 

" Yes, to a certain extent. As I have said, 
we are not all alike, and no amount of cultiva- 
tion will make some minds equal to those of 
others who have had but little training. But, 
whether great or small, everyone has some 
weak point; let him first study to overcome 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

"How can he do it?" 

" The only way I know of is to do it. But 
this brings me back to what I told you at first. 
A good mother will show one how to guard 
against his weak points. She should study 
each child and develop his individual character, 
for character is the true foundation, after all. 
She should check extravagance and encourage 
industry and self-respect. My mother is one 
of the best, and I feel I owe her a debt I can 
never repay." 


" Your mother ? Why, I thought you had 
been a boatbuilder for half a century! How 
old is she?" 

" She is eighty-eight, and still enjoys good 
health. If I have one thing more than another 
to be thankful for, it is her care in childhood 
and her advice and sympathy through life. 
How often have I thought of her wisdom when 
I have seen mothers from Europe (where they 
were satisfied to be peasants), seek to outshine 
all their neighbors after they have been in 
America a few years, and so bring financial 
ruin to their husbands or even goad them into 
crime, and curse their children with contempt 


How They Succeeded 

for honest labor in positions for which they are 
fitted, and a foolish desire to keep up appear- 
ances, even by living beyond their means and 
by seeking positions they cannot fill properly." 


"You must have been quite young, when 
you began to build boats ? " 

" About thirteen or fourteen years old. You 
see, my father was an amateur boat-builder, in 
a small way, and did very good work, but usu- 
ally not for sale. But I began the work as a 
business thirty-six years ago, when I was about 


" You must have been terribly handicapped 
by your blindness." 

" It was an obstacle, but I simply would not 
allow it to discourage me, and did my best, just 
the same as if I could see. My mother had 
taught me to think, and so I made thought and 
memory take the place of eyes. I acquired a 
kind of habit of mental projection which has 
enabled me to see models in my mind, as it 
were, and to consider their good and bad points 
intelligently. Besides, I cultivated my powers 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

of observation to the utmost, in other respects. 
Even now, I take an occasional trip of observa- 
tion, for I like to see what others are doing, 
and so keep abreast of the progress of the age. 
But I must stop or I shall get to ' talking shop/ 
the thing I declined to do at first. 


" The main thing for a boy is to have a good 
mother, to heed her advice, to do his best, and 
not get a ' swelled head ' as he rises, in other 
words, not to expect to put a gallon into a pint 
cup, or a bushel into a peck measure. Concen- 
tration, decision, industry and economy should 
be his watchwords, and invincible determina- 
tion and persistence his rule of action. " 

With another cordial handshake, he bade me 



Their recent Cup Defenders have made their 
names familiar to all, but shipping circles have 
long known them. The business of the firm 
was long confined almost wholly to the creation 


How They Succeeded 

of boats with single masts, each craft from 
twenty to thirty-six feet long. In their first ten 
years of associated work, they built nearly two 
thousand of these. But they were wonderful 
little boats, and of unrivaled swiftness. Then 
they made as wonderful a success in building 
steam fishing yachts. Then came torpedo boats. 
And in 1881 their proposal to the British 
government to build two vedette boats was ac- 
cepted on condition they should outmatch the 
work of White, the naval launch builder at 
Cowes. No firm had ever been able to com- 
pete with White. But in the following July 
the two HerreshofT boats were in the Ports- 
mouth dockyard, England, ready for trial. 
They were each forty-eight feet long, nine feet 
in beam, and five feet deep, exactly the same 
size as White's. They made fifteen and one- 
half knots an hour, while White's only re- 
corded twelve and two-fifths knots. " With 
all their machinery coal and water in place, 
the Herreshofr" boats were filled with water, 
and then twenty men were put aboard each, 
that human load being just so much in excess 
the admiralty test, and even then each had a 
floating capacity of three tons. The examin- 
ers pronounced enthusiastically in favor of the 





Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

Herreshoff safety coil boilers as unexplodable, 
less liable to injury from shock, capable of rais- 
ing steam more quickly, far lighter, and in all 
respects superior to those that had been form- 
erly used for the purpose." The boats were ac- 
cepted, and orders given at once for two pin- 
naces, each thirty-three feet long. Again John 
Samuel White competed, but his new boats 
could only make seven and one-eighth knots, 
while the HerreshofFs easily scored nine and 


In July, 1883, Jay Gould was highly elated 
over the speed of his beautiful steam yacht 
" Atalanta," which had several times met and 
distanced Edward S. Jaffray's wonderful 
" Stranger ; " but, on the twentieth of that 
month, his happiness, as the story is told, was 
very suddenly dashed. 

After a hard day's work, the jaded Jay 
boarded the " Atalanta " and began to shake 
out his pin-feathers a little, figuratively speak- 
ing. But before his boat had gone far on her 
run to Irvington, the bold manipulator of Wall 
Street made out a craft on his weather-quarter 
that seemed to be gliding after the " Atalanta " 


How They Succeeded 

with intent to overhaul her. He had a good 
start, however, and sang out to the captain to 
keep a sharp eye on the persistent little 
stranger, so unlike the " Stranger " he had 

" I wonder what it is ! " he exclaimed to a 
friend beside him. 

The friend looked long and carefully at the 
oncoming iboat, then turned a quizzical eye on 
Jay, remarking: 

"In a little while we can tell." 

"Will she get that close?" 

" I think she will." 

It was not long before the strange boat was 
abreast of the "Atalanta," and Jay was then 
able to make out the mystical number " 100 " 
on her. He rubbed his eyes. Those were the 
very figures he had long hoped to see on the 
stock ticker, after the words " Western 
Union," but that day they had lost their charm. 
Before long he was not only able to see the 
broadside of the " 100," but also had a good 
view of the stern of the vessel, whereon the 
same figures soon appeared and nearly as soon 
disappeared, as the " 100 " bade good-by to the 
" Atalanta," which was burning every pound 
of coal that could possibly be carried without 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

putting Mr. Gould or some efficient substitute 
on the safety valve. 

" He seems to be out of humor to-night," 
said his coachman, after leaving his employer 
at the door of his Irvington mansion. 

The mystic " 100 " which, by the way, was 
just one hundred feet over all, was merely the 
hundredth steamer built by the Herreshoffs, 
but on her first trip up the Hudson she at- 
tracted as much attention as the " Half Moon " 
of Henry Hudson or the " Clermont " of Rob- 
ert Fulton. She was the fastest yacht in the 
world, and was beaten on the river by only one 
vessel, the " Mary Powell " four and one-half 
minutes in twenty miles. 

Although Mr. Gould was considerably irri- 
tated at his defeat, he knew a good thing when 
he saw it, and the next year he ordered a small 
steam launch of the Herreshoffs/. 

The " 100 " made a great stir in Boston 
Harbor. Later on she steamed through the 
Erie canal and the Great Lakes, and made her 
home with the millionaire Mark Hopkins. 


The versatility of the Herreshoffs has ap- 
peared in their famous boiler improvement, and 


How They Succeeded 

in the great variety of vessels they have built. 
The " Stiletto " only ninety- four feet long, 
over all, astonished the yachting world in 1885. 
On June 10, she beat the " Mary Powell " two 
miles in a race of twenty-eight miles on the 
Hudson. At one time, the " Stiletto " circled 
completely around the big steamer and then 
moved rapidly away from her. 

Secretary Whitney bought the " Stiletto " 
for the United States navy, in which she has 
done valuable service. She was followed, in 
1890, by the still faster " Gushing," whose rec- 
ord in the recent Spanish-American war is so 
well known. 

Admiral Porter wrote to Secretary of the 
Navy Chandler, that the little Herreshoff 
steam launches were faster than any other 
owned by the government, their great superior- 
ity showing especially against a strong head 
wind and sea, when they would remain dry 
while their rivals required constant bailing. 
They were better trimmed, lighter, more buoy- 
ant, and in every way superior in nautical qual- 
ities, and twice as fast as others in a gale. 

Nineteen vessels have been built by this firm 
for the United States government. 

" There is a certain speed that attaches to 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

every vessel, which may be called its natural 
rate," says Lewis Herreshoff; "it is mainly 
governed by its length and the length of the 
carrier wave which always accompanies a ves- 
sel parallel to her line of motion. When she 
reaches a speed great enough to form a wave of 
the same length as the moving body, then that 
vessel has reached her natural rate of speed, 
and all that can be obtained above that is done 
by sheer brute force. The natural limit of speed 
of a boat forty feet long is about ten miles an 
hour; of a vessel sixty feet in length, twelve 
and one-quarter miles; of one a hundred feet 
long, fifteen and three-fourths miles; of one 
two hundred feet long, twenty-two miles." 

As the speed is increased, this double or car- 
rier wave, one-half on either side of the yacht, 
lengthens in such a way that the vessel seems 
to settle more the faster she goes, and so has 
to climb the very wave she makes. Hence the 
motive power must be increased much faster 
than the speed increases. Further, in order to 
avoid this settling and consequent climbing as 
much as possible, lightness of construction, 
next to correct proportions, is made the great 
desideratum in the Herreshoffs' ideal boat. 
They use wood wherever possible, as it is not 


How They Succeeded 

only lighter than metal, but is reasonably strong 
and generally much more durable. Wherever 
heavy strains come, a bracing form of con- 
struction is adopted, and metal is used also. 

The engine of the " Stiletto " weighs ten 
pounds for each indicated horse-power; that 
of the " Gushing," fifteen. The entire motive 
plant of the " Gushing " weighs sixty-five 
pounds for each horse-power ; that of the " City 
of Paris," two hundred. Comparing displace- 
ment, the former has eight times the power of 
the latter. 

For four years our government kept a staff 
of officers stationed at the Herreshoff works to 
experiment with high-speed machinery, in 
which the firm then led the country. One of 
their steamers, ascending the St. Lawrence 
River to the Thousand Islands, ran up all the 
rapids except the Lachine, where a detour by 
canal was made. The Canadians were deeply 
impressed by this triumph. 


One of the Herreshoff sisters is blind and a 
remarkable musician; and one brother blind 
who studied music in Berlin, and who conducts 
a school of music in Providence. Lewis Her- 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

reshoff, one of the boat-builders, is also blind. 
He, too, is a fine musician and an excellent 
bass singer, having received careful vocal train- 
ing in Europe. He has fine literary taste, a 
very clear style, and writes for magazines, 
especially on boat-building and engineering. 
He has a large foreign correspondence, all of 
which he answers personally on the typewriter. 
It would be difficult to find a greater favorite 
with young people, to whom he devotes much 
of his time, teaching them games or lessons, 
also how to sail or row a boat, how to swim or 
float, and how to save each other from drown- 
ing. When walking along the street with a 
group of chatting children, he will ask, " What 
time is it by the clock on St. Michael's 
Church ? " pointing right at the steeple. He 
will wind a clock and set it exactly, and regu- 
late it, if it does not go right. 


From his boyhood, John B. Herreshoff 
evinced a great fondness for boats and machin- 
ery, finding most pleasure, in his leisure hours, 
when boys of his age usually think only of play, 
in haunting boat-builders' yards and machine 
shops, studying how and why things were 

How They Succeeded 

done, and reading what had been done else- 
where in those branches of industry, beyond his 
field of observation. 

At the age of eleven, he was studying the 
best lines for vessels' hulls and making models 
and three years later he began building boats. 

His terrible affliction has never seemed to 
weaken his self-reliance or turn him aside from 
following the chosen pursuit of his life, but has 
rather strengthened his devotion to it and his 
capacity for it by concentrating all his faculties 
upon it. 

His many years of blindness have given him 
not only the serious, patient, introspective look 
common to those who suffer like him, and their 
gentle, clearly modulated voice, but have also 
developed all his other faculties to such an ex- 
tent as to largely replace the missing sense. 

He can tell as much about an ordinary-sized 
steam launch, her lines, methods of construc- 
tion, etc., by feeling, as others can by seeing, 
and he goes on inventing and building just as if 
his eyes were not closed forever. He is a tall, 
big-brained man, who couldn't help inventing 
and working if he tried. Such a man would 
have to suffer the loss of more than one of his 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

senses before his mental efficiency would be 
impaired. When he wanted to build some 
steam launches for the government, he went 
to the navy yard at Washington and felt of the 
government launches, to discover their shape 
and how they were made. Then he went to 
Bristol and made better launches suitable for 
the government's use. 


He reads and understands the most delicate 
intonations and modulations of voices address- 
ing him, as others read and understand facial 
expression. His sensitive fingers detect dif- 
ferences in metals, and follow, as if with a gift 
of perception, the lines of models submitted to 
him, and his mind sees even more clearly than by 
mere physical sight the intricacies of the most 
complicated machinery intelligently described 
to him, or over which his fingers are allowed to 
move. " That is a good stick," he will say, ex- 
amining a pile of lumber with his fingers. 
" Here's a shaky piece, throw it out; it won't 
do for this work," may come next, or, " Saw 
off this end; it's poor stock. The rest is all 
right." On hearing him criticize, direct, and 
explain things within his province, a stranger 


How They Succeeded 

finds it hard to believe he cannot see at least a 
little, out of one eye. 


By the constant practice, he has, as he ex- 
presses it, learned to see with his hands, not 
quite so quickly, but he believes as perfectly, as 
he could with his eyes, and this means more 
than it does in the case of an ordinary blind 
man; for, by a touch, he can tell whether the 
graceful double curves of a boat's bottom arc 
in correct proportion, one with another, and 
then, by a few rapid sweeps of his hands, over 
all, he can instantly judge of the symmetry 
and perfection of the whole. Even more than 
this, he will give minute directions to the car- 
penters and mechanics, running his hand along 
the piece of work one had produced, will im- 
mediately detect the slightest deviation from 
the instruction he has given. If at all impa- 
tient, he will seize the plane or other tool, and 
do the work himself. And yet the world calls 
this man " blind ! " 

While skill plays a material part, one of John 
B. HerreshofFs boats is a product of the mind, 
in a very great degree. Psychologists tell us 
that we do not see with our eyes, but with the 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

brain proper. This blind man sees, and con- 
structs, not that which is objective and real to 
others, but that which is evolved from a trans- 
cendental intelligence applied to the most prac- 
tical purposes. 


One of the brothers, who has good eyes, is 
a prominent chemist in New York; and one 
who can see is Nat the designer for the boat- 

Nathaniel G., the great yacht designer, was 
born in 1848. When he was 1 not more than two 
years old, he was often found asleep on the 
sand along shore, with the rising tide washing 
his bare feet. Whenever he was missing, he 
was sought for first on the shore, where he 
would generally be found watching the ships or 
playing with toy boats. 

At nine years of age, he was an excellent 
helmsman, and at twelve he sailed the 
" Sprite " to her first victory and won a prize. 
When older grown, he was known as a vigilant 
watcher of every chance as well as a skillful 
sailor. Once, when steering the " lanthe " in 
a failing wind, he veered widely from a crowd 
of contestants, so as to run into a good 


How They Succeeded 

breeze he noted far to starboard, and won 
the race. 

He took a four years' course at the Massa- 
chusetts Institute of Technology, and then 
served an apprenticeship with the famous Cor- 
liss Engine Company. He worked on the great 
engine at the Centennial Exposition, and took 
a course of engineering abroad, visiting many 
noted shipyards. He joined the firm in 1877, 
fourteen years after the works were opened. 

Nathaniel Greene HerreshofT, named for 
General Greene of Revolutionary fame, is seven 
years younger, and only less famous than his 
blind brother as a boat-builder, only second 
to John B. in about the same way that Greene 
was second to Washington. " General Greene 
is second to no one," said Washington. John 
B. would have done splendid work without Nat 
as he did for years before the latter joined the 
firm, but it would have been in a smaller way. 

For years John B., his father, and his broth- 
ers, James B. or Lewis, and Nathaniel G., were 
accustomed to get together frequently in the 
dining-room of the old homestead, and talk and 
plan together in regard to boatbuilding. Nat 
would usually make the first model on lines 
previously agreed upon, and then John B. 


Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder 

would feel it over and suggest changes, which 
would be made, and the consultation continued 
until all was satisfactory. 

Nathaniel is described as " a tall, thin man, 
with a full beard and a stoop," the latter said 
to have been acquired in " watching his rivals 
in his races, craning his head in order to see 
them from under the boom." 

" We have been always together from boy- 
hood," said John B., speaking of "Nat;" 
" we have had the same pleasures, the same 
purposes, the same aspirations; in fact, we 
have almost been one, and we have achieved 
nothing for which a full share of credit is not 
his just due. Nothing has ever been done by 
one without the other. Whenever one found 
an obstacle or difficulty, the other helped him to 
remove it; and he, being without the disad- 
vantage I have, never makes a mistake." 



A Successful Novelist: Fame 
After Fifty 1 

Practical Hints to Young Authors, 

TO be successful ! That is the legitimate 
ideal every true worker seeks to real- 
ize. But success is not the open se- 
cret which it appears to be; its elements are 
often uncomprehended ; and its roots generally 
go deep down, into the very beginnings of life. 
I can compel my soul to look back into that 
twilight which shrouds my earliest years, and 
perceive, even in them, monitions and tenden- 
cies working for that future, which in my des- 

1 This is a most remarkable story, communicated to 
me by Mrs. Barr, and related for the first time in this 
article. The distinguished novelist, being a perfect 
housekeeper and the mother of a large family, yet earns 
$20,000 a year by her books, which have been translated 
into the language of almost every civilized country. 

O. S. M. 


Mrs. Amelia E. Barr 

tiny was fashioned and shaped when as yet 
there was neither hint nor dream of it. For- 
tunately, I had parents who understood the 


in the formation of the intellect. The men and 
women whom I knew first and best were those 
of the Hebrew world. Sitting before the 
nursery fire, while the snow fell softly and 
ceaselessly, and all the mountains round were 
white, and the streets of the little English town 
choked with drifts, I could see the camels and 
the caravans of the Ishmaelitish merchants, 
passing through the hot, sandy desert. I could 
see Hagar weeping under the palm, and the 
waters of the Red Sea standing up like a wall. 
Miriam clashing the timbrels, and Deborah 
singing under the oak, and Ruth gleaning in 
the wheatfields of Bethlehem, were as real to 
me as were the women of my own home. Be- 
fore I was six years old, I had been with Chris- 
tian to the Celestial City, and had watched, 
with Crusoe, the mysterious footprint on the 
sand, and the advent of the savages. Then 
came the wonders of afrites and genii, and all 
the marvels and miracles of the Arabian tales. 


How They Succeeded 

These were the mind-builders, and though 
schools and teachers and text-books did much 
afterwards, I can never nor will forget the 
glorious company of men and women from the 
sacred world, and that marvelous company of 
caliphs and kings and princesses from Wonder 
Land and Fairy Land, that expanded my whole 
nature, and fitted me for the future miracles of 
Nature and Science, and all the marvelous peo- 
ple of the Poet's realm. 

For eighteen years I was amassing facts and 
fancies, developing a crude intelligence, wait- 
ing for the vitalization of the heart. Then 
Love, the Supreme Teacher, came; and his 
first lesson was, 


I was to give up father, and mother, home and 
kindred, friends and country, and follow where 
he would lead me, into a land strange and far 
off. Child-bearing and child-losing; the limi- 
tations and delights of frontier life; the inti- 
mate society of such great and individual men 
as Sam Houston, and the men who fought with 
him; the intense feelings induced by war, its 
uncertainties and possibilities, and the awful 
abiding in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, 


Mrs. Amelia E. Barr 

with the pestilence that walked in darkness arid 
the sickness that destroyed at noonday; all 
these events with their inevitable " asides " 
were instrumental in the education and prepa- 
ration of the seventeen years of my married 

The calamitous lesson of widowhood, under 
peculiarly tragic circumstances, was the last 
initiation of a heart already broken and hum- 
bled before Him who doeth all things well, no 
matter how hard the stroke may be. I thought 
all was over then; yet all was just beginning. 
It was the open door to a new life a life full 
of comforts, and serene, still, 


Though I had written stories to please my 
children, and many things to please myself, it 
had never occurred to me that money could be 
made by writing. The late William Libbey, 
a man of singular wisdom and kindness, first 
made me understand that my brain and my 
ten fingers were security for a good living. 
From my first effort I began to gather in the 
harvest of all my years of study and reading 
and private writing. For there is this pecu- 


How They Succeeded 

liarity about writing that if in any direction 
it has merit, it will certainly find a market. 

For fifteen years I wrote short stories, 
poems, editorials, and articles on every con- 
ceivable subject, from Herbert Spencer's theo- 
ries, to gentlemen's walking sticks; but bring- 
ing to every piece of work, if it was only ten 
lines, the best of my knowledge and ability; 
and so earning, with a great deal of pleasure, 
a very good living. During the earlier years 
of this time I worked and read on an average 


for I knew that, to make good work, I must 
have constant fresh material; must keep up 
to date in style and method; and must there- 
fore read far more than I wrote. But I have 
been an omnivorous reader all my life long, 
and no changes, no cares of home and children, 
have ever interfered with this mental necessity. 
In the most unlikely places and circumstances, 
I looked for books, and found them. These 
fifteen years on the weekly and monthly peri- 
odicals gave me the widest opportunities for 
information. I had an alcove in the Astor 
Library, and I practically lived in it. I slept 
and ate at home, but I lived in that City of 


Mrs. Amelia E, Barr 

Books. I was in the prime of life, but neither 
society, amusements, nor pleasures of any kind, 
could draw me away from the source of all my 
happiness and profit. 

Suddenly, after this long novition, I received 
the " call " for a different work. I had 


which confined me to my room, and which, I 
knew, would keep me from active work for 
some months 1 . I fretted for my work, as dry 
wood frets an inch from the flame, and said, 
" I shall lose all I have gained; I shall fall be- 
hind in the race; all these things are against 
me." They were all for me. A little story 
of what seemed exceptional merit, had been 
laid away, in the hope that I might some day 
find time to extend it into a novel. A prisoner 
in my chair, I finished the book in six weeks, 
and sent it to Dodd, Mead & Co. On Thanks- 
giving morning, a letter came, accepting the 
book, and any of my readers can imagine what 
a happy Thanksgiving Day that was! This 
book was " Jan Vedder's Wife," and its great 
and immediate success indicated to me the work 
I was at length ready for. I was then in my 
fifty-second year, and every year had been a 


How They Succeeded 

preparation for the work I have since pursued. 
I went out from that sick room sure of my 


and, with a confidence founded on the certainty 
of my equipment, and a determination to trust 
humanity, and take my readers only into green 
pastures and ways of purity and heroism, I 
ventured on my new path as a novelist. 

I cannot close this paper without a few 
words to those who wish to profit by it. I 
want them to be sure of a few points which, in 
my narrative, I may not have emphasized suffi- 


1. Men and women succeed because they 
take pains to succeed. Industry and patience 
are almost genius; and successful people are 
often more distinguished for resolution and 
perseverance than for unusual gifts. They 
make determination and unity of purpose sup- 
ply the place of ability. 

2. Success is the reward of those who 
" spurn delights and live laborious days." We 
learn to do things by doing them. One of the 
great secrets of success is "pegging away." 


Mrs. Amelia E. Ban- 
No disappointment must discourage, and a run 
back must often be allowed, in order to take a 
longer leap forward. 

3. No opposition must be taken to heart. 
Our enemies often help us more than our 
friends. Besides, a head-wind is better than 
no wind. Who ever got anywhere in a dead 

4. A fatal mistake is to imagine that success 
is some stroke of luck. This world is run 
with far too tight a rein for luck to interfere. 
Fortune sells her wares ; she never gives them. 
In some form or other, we pay for her favors ; 
or we go empty away. 

5. We have been told, for centuries, to 
watch for opportunities, and to strike while the 
iron is hot. Very good; but I think better of 
Oliver Cromwell's amendment. " make the 
iron hot by striking it." 

6. Everything good needs time. Don't do 
work in a hurry. Go into details; it pays in 
every way. Time means power for your work. 
Mediocrity is always in a rush; but whatever 
is worth doing at all is worth doing with con- 
sideration. For genius is nothing more nor 
less than doing well what anyone can do badly. 

7. Be orderly. Slatternly work is never 

3 11 

How They Succeeded 

good work. It is either affectation, or there is 
some radical defect in the intellect. I would 
distrust even the spiritual life of one whose 
methods and work were dirty, untidy, and 
without clearness and order. 

8. Never be above your profession. I have 
had many letters from people who wanted all 
the emoluments and honors of literature, and 
who yet said, " Literature is the accident of 
my life ; I am a lawyer, or a doctor, or a lady, 
or a gentleman." Literature is no accident. 
] She is a mistress who demands the whole heart, 
the whole intellect, and the whole time of a 

9. Don't fail through defects of temper and 
over-sensitiveness at moments of trial. One 
of the great helps to success is to be cheerful; 
to go to work with a full sense of life; to be 
determined to put hindrances out of the way; 
to prevail over them and to get the mastery. 
'Above all things else, be cheerful; there is no 
beatitude for the despairing. 

Apparent success may be reached by sheer 
impudence, in defiance of offensive demerit. 
But men who get what they are manifestly 
unfit for, are made to feel what people think of 
them. Charlatanry may flourish; but when 

3 I2 

Mrs. Amelia E. Ban- 
ks bay tree is greenest, it is held far lower than 
genuine effort. The world is just; it may, it 
does, patronize quacks ; but it never puts them 
on a level with true men. 

It is better to have the opportunity of vic- 
tory, than to be spared the struggle; for suc- 
cess comes but as the result of arduous experi- 
ence. The foundations of my success were laid 
before I can well remember; it was after at 
least forty-five years of conscious labor that I 
reached the object of my hope. Many a time 
my head failed me, my hands failed me, my 
feet failed me, but, thank God, my heart never 
failed me. Because / knew that no extremity 
would find God's arm shortened. 

XIX m& 

How Theodore Thomas 
Brought the People Nearer 
to Music 

MR. THOMAS is an early riser, and as 
I found him one morning, in his 
chambers in Chicago, he was pre- 
paring to leave for rehearsal. The hale old 
gentleman actively paced the floor, while I con- 
versed with him. 

" Mr. Thomas," I said, " those familiar with 
the events of your life consider them a lesson 
of encouragement for earnest and high-minded 

" That is kind," he answered. 

" I should like, if you will, to have you 
speak of your work in building up your great 
orchestra in this country." 

" That is too long a story. I would have to 
begin with my birth." 

" Where were you born? " I asked. 


Theodore Thomas 

" In the kingdom of Hanover, in 1835. My 
father was a violinist, and from him I inherited 
my taste, I suppose. He taught me music. 
When I was only six years old, I played the 
violin at public concerts. 


" I was not an infant prodigy, however. My 
father had too much wisdom to injure my 
chances in that way. He made me keep to my 
studies in a manner that did me good. I came 
to America in 1845." 

" Was the American music field crowded 

" On the contrary, there wasn't any field to 
speak of. It had to be made. Music was the 
pastime of a few. The well-educated and fash- 
ionable classes possessed or claimed a knowl- 
edge of it. There was scarcely any music for 
the common people." 

" How did you get your start in the New 
York world of music? " I asked. 

" With four associates, William Mason, Jo- 
seph Mosenthal, George Matzka and Frederick 
Berguer, I began a series of concerts of Cham- 
ber Music, and for many years we conducted 
this modest artistic enterprise. There was 

How They Succeeded 

much musical enthusiasm on our part, but very 
little reward, except the pleasure we drew from 
our own playing. 

" These Mason and Thomas soirees are still 
remembered by old-time music lovers of New 
York, not only for their excellence, but for the 
peculiar character of the audiences. They 
were quiet little monthly reunions, to which 
most of the guests came with complimentary 
tickets. The critics hardly ventured to intrude 
upon the exercises, and the newspapers gave 
them little notice." 


" How did you come to found your great or- 

" It was more of a growth than a full- 
fledged thought to begin with. It was in 1861 
that I severed my connection with the opera 
and began to establish a genuine orchestra. I 
began with occasional performances, popular 
matinee concerts, and so on, and, in a few 
years, was able to give a series of Symphony 
Soirees at the old Irving Hall in New York." 

To the average person this work of Mr. 
Thomas may seem to be neither difficult nor 
great. Yet while anyone could have collected 


Theodore Thomas 

a band in a week, to make such an orchestra as 
Mr. Thomas meant to have, required time and 
patience. It was when the Philharmonic So- 
ciety, after living through a great many hard- 
ships, was on the full tide of popular fa- 
vor. Its concerts and rehearsals filled the 
Academy of Music with the flower of New 
York society. Powerful social influences had 
been won to its support, and Carl Bergmann 
had raised its noble orchestra of one hundred 
performers to a point of proficiency then quite 
unexampled in this country, and in some par- 
ticulars still unsurpassed. Ladies and gentle- 
men who moved in the best circles hardly no- 
ticed the parallel entertainment offered in such 
a modest way, by Mr. Thomas, on the opposite 
side of the street. The patrons of his Cham- 
ber Concerts, of course, went in to see what the 
new orchestra was like ; professional musicians 
hurried to the hall with their free passes; and 
there were a few curious listeners besides who 
found in the programmes a class of composi- 
tions somewhat different from those which Mr. 
Bergmann chiefly favored, and, in particular, a 
freshness and novelty in the selections, with an 
inclination, not yet very strongly marked, to- 
ward the modern German school. Among 


How They Succeeded 

such of the dilettanti as condescended to think 
of Mr. Thomas at all, there was a vague im- 
pression that his concerts were started in op- 
position to the Philharmonic Society, but that 
they were not so good and much less genteel. 

It is true that Mr. Thomas was surpassed, 
at that time, by Mr. Bergmann's larger and 
older orchestra, and that he had much less than 
an equal share of public favor, but there was no 
intentional rivalry. The two men had entirely 
different ideas and worked them out in per- 
fectly original ways. It was only the artist's 
dismal period of struggle and neglect, which 
every beginner must pass through. He had to 
meet cold and meager audiences, and the false 
judgment of both the critics and the people. 
Yet he was a singular compound of good 
American energy and German obstinacy, and 
he never lost courage. 

" Was it a long struggle? " I asked. 

" Not very long. Matters soon began to 
mend. The orchestra improved, the dreadful 
gaps in the audience soon filled up, and at the 
end of the year the Symphony Soirees, if they 
made no excitement in musical circles, had at 
least achieved a high reputation." 

" What was your aim, at that time ? " 

Theodore Thomas 

" When I began, I was convinced that there 
is no music too high for the popular apprecia- 
tion, that no scientific education is required 
for the enjoyment of Beethoven. I believed 
that it is only necessary that a public whose 
taste has been vitiated by over-indulgence in 
trifles, should have time and opportunity to ac- 
custom itself to better things. The American 
people at large then (1864) knew little or 
nothing of the great composers for the orches- 
tra. Three or four more or less complete or- 
ganizations had visited the principal cities of 
the United States in former years, but they 
made little permanent impression. Juillien had 
brought over, for his monster concerts, only five 
or six solo players, and the band was filled up 
with such material as he found here. The cele- 
brated Germania Band of New York, which 
had first brought Mr. Bergmann (famous then 
as the head of the New York Philharmonic So- 
ciety) into notice, did some admirable work 
just previous to my start in New York, but it 
disbanded after six years of vicissitude, and, 
besides, it was not a complete orchestra." 

" You mean," I said, as Mr. Thomas paused 
meditatively, " that you came at a time when 
there was a decided opportunity?" 


How They Succeeded 


" Yes. There had been, and were then, good 
organizations, such as the New York Philhar- 
monic Society and the Harvard Musical Asso- 
ciation in Boston, and a few similar organiza- 
tions in various parts of the country. I mean 
no disparagement to their honorable labors, 
but, in simple truth, none of them had great in- 
fluence on the masses. They were pioneers of 
culture. They prepared the way for the modern 
permanent orchestra." 

" They were not important ? " 

" No, no; that cannot be said. It would be 
the grossest ingratitude to forget what they 
did and have done and are still dping, or de- 
tract in the smallest degree from their well- 
earned fame. But from the very nature of their 
organization, it was inevitable that they 
should stand a little apart from the common 
crowd. To the general public, their perform- 
ances were more like mysterious rites, cele- 
brated behind closed doors, in the presence of 
a select and unchanging company of believers. 
Year after year, the same twenty-five hundred 
people filled the New York Academy of Music 


Theodore Thomas 

at the Philharmonic concerts, applauding the 
same class of master works, and growing more 
and more familiar with the same standards of 
the strictly classical school. This was no cause 
for complaint; on the contrary, it was most 
fortunate that the reverence for the older forms 
of art and canons of taste were thus kept alive ; 
and we know that, little by little, the culture 
which the Philharmonic Society diffuses, 
through the circle of its regular subscribers, 
spreads beyond that small company, and raises 
the aesthetic tone of metropolitan life. But I 
believed then, as I believe now, that it would 
require generations for this little leaven to 
leaven the whole mass, and so I undertook to 
do my part in improving matters by forming 
an orchestra." 

" You wanted to get nearer the people with 
good music ? " 

" No, I wanted the people to get nearer to 
music. I was satisfied that the right course is 
to begin at the bottom instead of the top, and 
make the cultivation of symphonic music a 
popular movement." 

" Was the idea of a popular permanent or- 
chestra new at that time? " 


How They Succeeded 

" Yes." 

"Why was it necessary to effect a perma- 
nent orchestra?" 

" Why ? Because the first step in making 
music popular was to raise the standard of or- 
chestral performances and increase their fre- 
quency. Our country had never possessed a 
genuine orchestra, for a band of players gath- 
ered together at rare intervals for a special 
purpose does not deserve the name. The mu- 
sician who marches at the head of a target 
company all the morning and plays for a danc- 
ing party at night, is out of tune with the great 
masters. To express the deep emotions of 
Beethoven, the romanticism of Schumann, or 
the poetry of Liszt, he ought to live in an at- 
mosphere of art, and keep not only his hand in 
practice, but his mind properly attempered. An 
orchestra, therefore, ought to be a permanent 
body, whose members play together every day, 
under the same conductor, and devote them- 
selves exclusively to genuine music. Nobody 
had yet attempted to found an orchestra of this 
kind in America when I began ; but I believed 
it could be done." 


Theodore Thomas 


" Did you have an idea of a permanent build- 
ing for your orchestra ? " 

" Yes. I wanted something more than an 
ordinary concert-room. The idea needed it. It 
was to be a place suitable for use at all seasons 
of the year. There was to be communication in 
summer with an open garden, and in winter 
it was to be a perfect auditorium." 

Mr. Thomas's idea went even further. It 
must be bright, comfortable, roomy, well ven- 
tilated for a close and drowsy atmosphere is 
fatal to symphonic music, it must offer to the 
multitude every attraction not inconsistent with 
musical enjoyment. The stage must be adapted 
for a variety of performances, for popular sum- 
mer entertainment as well as the most serious 
of classical concerts. There, with an uninter- 
rupted course of entertainments, night after 
night, the whole year round, the noblest work 
of all the great masters might be worthily 

The scheme was never wholly worked out in 
New York, great as Mr. Thomas's fame be- 
came, but it was partially realized in the old 
Exposition building in Chicago, where he af- 

3 2 3 

How They Succeeded 

terwards gave his summer concerts, and it is 
still nearer reality in the present permanent 
Chicago orchestra, which has the great Audi- 
torium for its home and a $50,000 annual 

" What were your first steps in this direc- 
tion?" I asked. 

" I began with a series of al fresco entertain- 
ments in the old Terrace Garden, in June, 1866. 
They were well patronized; and repeated in 
1867. Then, in 1868, we removed to better 
quarters in Central Park Garden, and things 
prospered, so that, in 1869, I began those an- 
nual tours, which are now so common." 

The first itinerary of this kind was not very 
profitable, but the young conductor fought 
through it. Each new season improved some- 
what, but there were troubles and losses. More 
than once, the travelers trod close upon the 
heels of calamity. The cost of moving from 
place to place was so great that the most care- 
ful management was necessary to cover ex- 
penses. They could not afford to be idle, even 
for a night, and the towns capable of furnish- 
ing good audiences generally wanted fun. 
Hence they must travel all day, and Thomas 
took care that the road should be smoothed 


Theodore Thomas 

with all obtainable comforts. Special cars on 
the railways, special attendants to look after 
the luggage, and lodgings at the best hotels 
contributed to make the tour tolerably pleasant 
and easy, so that the men came to their evening 
work fresh and smiling. They were tied up by 
freshets and delayed by wrecks ; but their fame 
grew, and the audiences became greater. 
Thomas's fame as a conductor who could guar- 
antee constant employment permitted him to 
take his choice of the best players in the coun- 
try, and he brought over a number of European 
celebrities as the public taste improved. 

Theodore Thomas did another wise thing. 
He treated New York like a provincial city, 
giving it a week of music once in a while as he 
passed through it on his travels. This excited 
the popular interest, and when he came to stay, 
the next season, a brilliantly successful series of 
concerts was the result. At the close, a number 
of his admirers united in presenting him a rich 
silver casket, holding a purse of thirty-five hun- 
dred dollars, as a testimonial of gratitude for 
his services. The Brooklyn Philharmonic So- 
ciety placed itself under his direction. Chicago 
gave him a fine invitation to attend benefit en- 
tertainments to himself; and, when he came, 

3 2 5 

How They Succeeded 

decked the hall with abundant natural flowers, 
as if for the reception of a hero. He was suc- 
cessful financially and every other way, and 
from that time on he merely added to his 


" What," I asked of him, " do you consider 
the chief element of your success ? " 

"That is difficult to say. Perseverance, 
hard work, stern discipline, each had its 

" You have never attempted to become 


" Do you still believe in the best music for 
the mass of the people?" 

" I do. My success has been with them. It 
was so in New York; it is so here in Chicago." 

" Do you still work as hard as ever? " I in- 

" Nearly so. The training of a large orches- 
tra never ends. The work must be gone over 
and over. There is always something new." 

" And your life's pleasure lies in this ? " 

" Wholly so. To render perfect music per- 
fectly that is enough." 



John Burroughs at Home: The 
Hut on the Hill Top 

WHEN I visited the hill-top retreat of 
John Burroughs, the distinguished 
writer upon nature, at West Park, 
New York, it was with the feeling that all suc- 
cess is not material ; that mere dollars are noth- 
ing, and that the influential man is the success- 
ful man, whether he be rich or poor. John Bur- 
roughs is unquestionably both influential and 
poor. Relatively poor : being an owner of some 
real estate, and having a modest income from 
copyrights. He is content: knowing when he 
has enough. On the wooden porch of his lit- 
tle bark-covered cabin I waited, one June af- 
ternoon, until he should come back from the 
woods and fields, where he had gone for a ram- 
ble. It was so still that the sound of my rocker 
moving to and fro on the rough boards of the 
little porch seemed to shock the perfect quiet. 

How They Succeeded 

From afar off came the plaintive cry of a wood- 
dove, and then all was still again. Presently 
the interpreter of out-door life appeared in the 
distance, and, seeing a stranger at his door, 
hurried homeward. He was without coat or 
vest and looked cool in his white outing shirt 
and large straw hat. After some formalities 
of introduction we reached the subject which I 
had called to discuss, and he said : 

" It is not customary to interview men of 
my vocation concerning success." 

" Any one who has made a lasting impres- 
sion on the minds of his contemporaries," I be- 
gan, " and influenced men and women " 

"Do you refer to me?" he interrupted, 

I nodded and he laughed. " I have not en- 
dowed a university nor made a fortune, nor 
conquered an enemy in battle," he said. 

" And those who have done such things have 
not written 'Locusts and Wild Honey' and 
'Wake Robin/" 

" I recognize," he said quietly, " that suc- 
cess is not always where people think it is. 
There are many ways of being successful ; and 
I do not approve of the mistake which causes 


John Burroughs 

many to consider that a great fortune acquired 
means a great success achieved. On the con- 
trary, our greatest men need very little money 
to accomplish the greatest work." 

" I thought that anyone leading a life so 
wholly at variance with the ordinary ideas and 
customs would see success in life from a dif- 
ferent point of view," I observed. " Money 
is really no object with you ? " 

" The subject of wealth never disturbs me." 

" You lead a very simple life here." 

" Such as you see." 

The sight would impress anyone. So far is 
this disciple of nature away from the ordinary 
mode of the world, that his little cabin, set in 
the cup-shaped top of a hill, is practically bare of 
luxuries and the so called comforts of life. His 
surroundings are of the rudest, the very rocks 
and bushes encroaching upon his back door. 
All about, the crest of the hill encircles him, 
and shuts out the world. Only the birds of the 
air venture to invade his retreat from the vari- 
ous sides of the mountain; and there is only 
one approach by a straggling, narrow path. In 
his house are no decorations but such as can be 
hung upon the exposed wood. The fireplace is 

3 2 9 

How They Succeeded 

of brick, and quite wide; the floor, rough 
boards scrubbed white; the ceiling, a rough ar- 
ray of exposed rafters ; and his bed rudely con- 
structed. Very few and very simple chairs, a 
plain table and some shelves for books make the 
wealth of the retreat and serve for his ordinary 
use. 1 

" Many people," I said, " think that your 
method of living is an ideal example of the way 
people ought to live." 

" There is nothing remarkable in that. A 
great many people are very weary of the way 
they think themselves compelled to live. They 
are mistaken in believing that the disagreeable 
things they find themselves doing, are the 
things they ought to do. A great many take 
their ideas of a proper aim in life from what 
other people say and do. Consequently, they 
are unhappy, and an independent existence such 
as mine strikes them as ideal. As a matter of 
fact, it is very natural." 

" Would you say that to work so as to be 

1 This hut on the hill-top is situated in an old lake bed, 
some three hundred yards wide, half filled with peat and 
decomposed matter, swampy and overgrown. This area 
was devoted by Mr. Burroughs to the raising of celery 
for the market, when he set out to earn a living upon 
the land. 


John Burroughs 

able to live like this should be the aim of a 
young man ? " 

" By no means. On the contrary, his aim 
should be to live in such a way as will give his 
mind the greatest freedom and peace. This 
can be very often obtained by wanting less of 
material things and more of intellectual ones. 
A man who achieved such an aim would be as 
well off as the most distinguished man in any 
field. Money-getting is half a mania, and some 
other ' getting ' propensities are manias also. 
The man who gets content comes nearest to be- 
ing reasonable." 

" I should like," I said, " to illustrate your 
point of view from the details of your own 

" Students of nature do not, as a rule, have 
eventful lives. I was born at Roxbury, New 
York, in 1837. That was a time when condi- 
tions were rather primitive. My father was a 
farmer, and I was raised among the woods and 
fields. I came from an uncultivated, unread- 
ing class of society, and grew up among sur- 
roundings the least calculated to awaken the 
literary faculty. I have no doubt that daily 
contact with the woods and fields awakened my 
interest in the wonders of nature, and gave 

33 1 

How They Succeeded 

me a bent toward investigation in that direc- 
tion." 1 

"Did you begin early to make notes and 
write upon nature?" I questioned. 

" Not before I was sixteen or seventeen. 
Earlier than that, the art of composition had 
anything but charms for me. I remember that 
while at school, at the age of fourteen, I was 
required, like other students, to write ' compo- 
sitions' at stated times, but I usually evaded the 
duty one way or another. On one occasion, I 
copied something from a comic almanac, and 
unblushingly handed it in as my own. But the 
teacher detected the fraud, and ordered me to 
produce a twelve-line composition before I left 
school. I remember I racked my brain in vain, 

1 " Blessed is he whose youth was passed upon a farm," 
writes Mr. Burroughs ; " and' if it was a dairy farm his 
memories will be all the more fragrant. The driving of 
the cows to and from the pasture every day and every 
season for years, how much of summer and of nature 
he got into him on these journeys! What rambles and 
excursions did this errand furnish the excuse for ! The 
birds and birds' nests, the berries, the squirrels, the 
woodchucks, the beech woods into which the cows loved 
so to wander and browse, the fragrant wintergreens. 
and a hundred nameless adventures, all strung upon that 
brief journey of half a mile to and from the remote pas- 

33 2 

John Burroughs 

and the short winter day was almost closing 
when Jay Gould, who sat in the seat behind me, 
wrote twelve lines of doggerel on his slate and 
passed it slyly over to me. I had so little taste 
for writing that I coolly copied that, and 
handed it in as my own." 

"You were friendly with Gould then?" 

" Oh, yes, ' chummy/ they call it now. His 
father's farm was only a little way from ours, 
and we were fast friends, going home together 
every night." 

" His view of life must have been consider- 
ably different from yours." 

" It was. I always looked upon success as 
being a matter of mind, not money; but Jay 
wanted the material appearances. I remember 
that once we had a wrestling match, and as we 
were about even in strength, we agreed to abide 
by certain rules, taking what we called 
' holts ' in the beginning and not breaking them 
until one or the other was thrown. I kept to 
this in the struggle, but when Jay realized that 
he was in danger of losing the contest, he broke 
the ' holt ' and threw me. When I remarked 
that he had broken his agreement, he only 
laughed and said, ' I threw you, didn't I ? ' And 
to every objection I made, he made the same 


How They Succeeded 

answer. The fact of having won was pleasing 
to him. It satisfied him, although it wouldn't 
have contented me." 

" Did you ever talk over success in life with 

: ' Yes, quite often. He was bent on making 
money, and did considerable trading among 
us schoolboys, sold me some of his books. I 
felt then that my view of life was more satis- 
factory to me than his would have been. I 
wanted to obtain a competence, and then devote 
myself to high thinking instead of to money- 
making. 1 

" How did you plan to attain this end? " 

" By study. I began in my sixteenth or 
seventeenth year to try to express myself on 
paper, and when, after I had left the country 
school, I attended the seminary at Ashland and 
at Cooperstown, I often received the highest 

1 An old schoolmate in the little red schoolhouse has 
said, that " John and Jay were not like the other boys. 
They learned their lessons easier; and at recess they 
looked on the games, but did not join in them. John 
always knew where to find the largest trout; he could 
show you birds' nests, and name all the flowers. He 
was fond of reading, and would walk five miles to bor- 
row a book. Roxbury is proud of John Burroughs. 
We celebrated ' Burroughs Day ' instead of Arbor Day 
here last spring, in the high-school, in honor of him." 


John Burroughs 

marks in composition, though only standing 
about the average in general scholarship. My 
taste ran to essays, and I picked up the great 
works in that field at a bookstore, from time to 
time, and filled my mind with the essay idea. 
I bought the whole of Dr. Johnson's works at 
a second-hand bookstore in New York, because, 
on looking into them I found his essays ap- 
peared to be solid literature, which I thought 
was just the thing. Almost my first literary 
attempts were moral reflections, somewhat in 
the Johnsonian style." 

" You were supporting yourself during these 

" I taught six months and ' boarded round ' 
before I went to the seminary. That put fifty 
dollars into my pocket, and the fifty paid my 
way at the seminary. 1 Working on the farm, 

1 It was when he was attending the academy, that 
young Burroughs first saw that wonderful being a liv- 
ing author: 

" I distinctly remember with what emotion I gazed 
upon him," he said, " and followed him about in the 
twilight, keeping on the other side of the street. He 
was of little account, a man who had failed as a lawyer, 
and then had written a history of Poland, which I have 
never heard of since that time; but to me he was the 
embodiment of the august spirit of authorship, and I 
looked upon him with more reverence and enthusiasm 


How They Succeeded 

studying and teaching filled up the years until 
1863, when I went to Washington and found 
employment in the Treasury Department." 

"You were connected with the Treasury 
then?" 1 

" Oh, yes ; for nearly nine years. I left the 
department in 1872, to become receiver of a 
bank, and subsequently for several years I per- 
formed the work of a bank examiner. I consid- 
ered it only as an opportunity to earn and save 
up a little money on which I could retire. I 
managed to do that, and came back to this re- 
gion, where I bought a fruit farm. I worked 

than I had ever before looked upon any man with. I 
cannot divine why I should have stood in such worship- 
ful fear and awe of this obscure individual, but I sup- 
pose it was the instinctive tribute of a timid and imagina- 
tive youth to a power he was just beginning to see, or 
to feel, the power of letters." 

*"My first book, 'Wake- Robin/ was written while I 
was a government clerk in Washington/' says Mr. Bur- 
roughs. " It enabled me to live over again the days I 
had passed with the birds, and in the scenes of my 
youth. I wrote the book while sitting at a desk in front 
of an iron wall. I was the keeper of a vault in which 
many million of bank-notes were stored. During my 
long periods of leisure, I took refuge in my pen. How 
my mind reacted from the iron wall in front of me, and 
sought solace in memories of the birds and of summer 
fields and woods." 

33 6 

John Burroughs 

that into paying condition, and then gave all 
my time to the pursuit of the studies I like." 

" Had you abandoned your interest in na- 
ture during your Washington life ? " 

" No. I gave as much time to the study of 
nature and literature as I had to spare. When 
I was twenty-three I wrote an essay on ' Ex- 
pression/ and sent it to the ' Atlantic.' It was 
so Emersonian in style, owing to my enthusi- 
asm for Emerson at that time, that the editor 
thought some one was trying to palm off on 
him an early essay of Emerson's which he had 
not seen. He found that Emerson had not 
published any such paper, however, and printed 
it, though it had not much merit. I wrote off 
and on for the magazines." 

The editor in question was James Russell 
Lowell, who, instead of considering it without 
merit, often expressed afterwards the delight 
with which he read this contribution from an 
unknown hand, and the swift impression of the 
author's future distinction which came to him 
with that reading. 

" Your successful work, then, has been in 
what direction ? " I said. 

" In studying nature. It has all come by liv- 
ing close to the plants and animals of the woods 


How They Succeeded 

and fields, and coming to understand them. 
There I have been successful. Men who, like 
myself, are deficient in self-assertion, or whose 
personalities are flexible and yielding, make a 
poor show in business, but in certain other 
fields these defects become advantages. Cer- 
tainly it is so in my case. I can succeed with 
bird or beast, for I have cultivated my ability 
in that direction. I can look in the eye of an 
ugly dog or cow and win, but with an ugly man 
I have less success. 

" I consider the desire which most indi- 
viduals have for the luxuries which money can 
buy, an error of mind" he added. " Those 
things do not mean anything except a lack of 
higher tastes. Such wants are not necessary 
wants, nor honorable wants. If you cannot get 
wealth with a noble purpose, it is better to 
abandon it and get something else. Peace of 
mind is one of the best things to seek, and finer 
tastes and feelings. The man who gets these, 
and maintains himself comfortably, is much 
more admirable and successful than the man 
who gets money and neglects these. The realm 
of power has no fascination for me. I would 
rather have my seclusion and peace of mind. 
This log hut, with its bare floors, is sufficient. 


John Burroughs 

I am set down among the beauties of nature, 
and in no danger of losing the riches that are 
scattered all about. No one will take my walks 
or my brook away from me. The flowers, birds 
and animals are plentifully provided. I have 
enough to eat and wear, and time to see how 
beautiful the world is, and to enjoy it. The en- 
tire world is after your money, or the things 
you have bought with your money. It is try- 
ing to keep them that makes them seem so pre- 
cious. I live to broaden and enjoy my own life, 
believing that in so doing I do what is best for 
everypne. If I ran after birds only to write 
about them, I should never have written any- 
thing that anyone else would have cared to 
read. I must write from sympathy and love, 
that is, from enjoyment, or not at all. I come 
gradually to have a feeling that I want to write 
upon a given theme. Whenever the subject 
recurs to me, it awakens a warm, personal re- 
sponse. My confidence that I ought to write 
comes from the feeling or attraction which 
some subjects exercise over me. The work is 
pleasure, and the result gives pleasure." 

"And your work as a naturalist is what?" 

" Climbing trees to study birds, lying by the 

waterside to watch the fishes, sitting still in 


How They Succeeded 

the grass for hours to study the insects, and 
tramping here and there, always to observe and 
study whatever is common to the woods and 

" Men think you have done a great work," I 

" I have done a pleasant work," he said, 

" And the achievements of your schoolmate 
Gould do not appeal to you as having anything 
in them worth aiming for ? " I questioned. 

" Not for me. I think my life is better for 
having escaped such vast and difficult 

The gentle, light-hearted naturalist and re- 
cluse came down the long hillside with me, " to 
put me right " on the main road. I watched him 
as he retraced his steps up the steep, dark path, 
lantern in hand. His sixty years sat lightly upon 
him, and as he ascended I heard him singing. 
Long after the light melody had died away, I 
saw the serene little light bobbing up and down 
in his hand, disappearing and reappearing, as 
the lone philosopher repaired to his hut and his 
couch of content. 



Vreeland's Romantic Story: 
How He Came to Transport 
a Million Passengers a Day 

A SHORT time ago, New York learned 
with interest and some astonishment, 
that the head of its greatest transpor- 
tation system, Herbert H. Vreeland, had re- 
ceived from several of his associates as indi- 
viduals, a " valentine " present of $100,000, in 
recognition of his superb management of their 
properties. Many New Yorkers then learned, 
for the first time, what railroad experts 
throughout the country had long known, that 
the transportation of a million people a day in 
New York's busy streets, without serious fric- 
tion or public annoyance, is not a matter of 
chance, but is the result of perhaps the most 
perfect traffic organization ever created, at the 
head of which is a man, quiet, forceful, able, 


How They Succeeded 

with the ability of a great general a 'master 
and at the same time, a friend of men, himself 
one for whom in the judgment of his associates 
almost any higher railroad career is possible. 

Thirty years ago Mr. Vreeland, then a lad 
thirteen years old, was, to use his own humor- 
ous, reminiscent phrase, " h'isting ice " on the 
Hudson River, one of a gang of eighteen or 
twenty men and boys filling the ice carts for 
retail city delivery. A picture just brought to 
light, shows him among the force lined up to be 
photographed, as a tall, loosely built, hatchet- 
faced lad in working garb, with a fragment of 
a smile on his face, as if he could appreciate 
the contrast of the boy of that day with the 
man of the future. 

How do these things happen? What was 
the divine spark in this boy's brain and heart 
that should lift him out of the crowd of the 
commonplace to the position of responsibility 
and influence in the world which he now occu- 
pies? If my readers could have been present 
at the interview kindly granted by Mr. Vree- 
land to the writer, and could have heard him 
recalling his early life and its many struggles 
and disappointments with a smile that was 
often near a tear, they would have gone away 


Herbert H. Vreeland 

feeling that nothing is impossible to him who 
dares, and, above all else, who works, and they 
would have derived inspiration far greater than 
can possibly be given in these written words. 

" I first entered the railroad business in 
1875," said Mr. Vreeland, " shoveling gravel 
on one of the Long Island Railroad Company's 
night construction trains. Though this posi- 
tion was humble enough, it was a great thing 
to me then to feel myself a railroad man, with 
all that that term implied; and when, after a 
few months' trial, I was given the job of in- 
specting ties and roadbed at a dollar a day, I 
felt that I was well on the road to the presi- 

" One day the superintendent asked my boss 
if he could give him a reliable man to replace 
a switchman who had just made a blunder lead- 
ing to a collision, and had been discharged. 
The reply was, ' Well, I've got a man named 
Vreeland here, who will do exactly what you 
tell him to.' They called me up, and, after a 
few short, sharp questions from the train-mas- 
ter, I went down to the dreary and desolate 
marsh near Bushwick, Long Island, and took 
charge of a switch. For a few days I had to 
camp out near that switch, in any way that 


How They Succeeded 

might happen, but finally the officers made up 
their minds that they could afford me the lux- 
ury of a two-by-four flag-house with a stove in 
it, and I settled down for more railroading. 

" The Bushwick station was not far away, 
and one of the company's division headquarters 
was there. I soon made the acquaintance of 
all the officials around that station, and got into 
their good graces by offering to help them out 
in their clerical work at any and all times when 
I was off duty. It was a godsend to them, 
and exactly what I wanted, for I had deter- 
mined to get into the inside of the railroad 
business from bottom to top. Many's the time 
1 have worked till eleven or twelve o'clock at 
night in that little station, figuring out train re- 
ceipts and expenses, engine cost and duty, and 
freight and passenger statistics of all kinds; 
and, as a result of this work, I quickly acquired 
a grasp of railroad details in all stages, which 
few managers possess, for, in one way and an- 
other, I got into and through every branch of 
the business. 

" My Bushwick switch was a temporary one, 
put in for construction purposes only, and, 
after some months' use, was discontinued, and 
I was discharged. This did not suit me at all, 


Herbert H. Vreeland 

and I went to one of the officials of the road 
and told him that I wanted to remain with the 
Long Island Railroad Company in any capac- 
ity whatsoever, and would be obliged to him if 
he would give me a job. He said, at first, that 
he hadn't a thing for me to do, but finally 
added, as if he was ashamed to suggest it, that, 
if I had a mind to go down on another division 
and sweep out and dust cars, I might do it. I 
instantly accepted, and thereby learned the de- 
tails of another important railroad department. 

" Pretty soon they made me brakeman on an 
early morning train to Hempstead, and then I 
found that I was worth to the world, after two 
years of railroad training, just forty dollars a 
month, plus a perquisite or two obtained from 
running a card-table department in the smok- 
ing-cars. I remembered that I paid eighteen 
dollars of my munificent salary for board and 
lodging, sent twenty dollars home for the sup- 
port of my mother and sister, and had two dol- 
lars a month and the aforesaid perquisites left 
for ' luxuries/ 

" It was about this time, thus early in my 
career, that I first came to be known as ' Presi- 
dent Vreeland.' An old codger upon the rail- 
road, in talking to me one day, said, in a ban- 


How They Succeeded 

tering way : ' Well, I suppose you think your 
fortune is made, now you have become a brake- 
man, but let me tell you what will happen. 
You will be a brakeman about four or five 
years, and then they will make you a conductor, 
at about one hundred dollars a month, and 
there you'll stick all your life, if you don't get 
discharged.' I responded, rather angrily, ' Do 
you suppose I am going to be satisfied with re- 
maining a conductor? I mean to be president 
of a railroad.' ' Ho, ho, ho ! ' laughed the 
man. He told the story around, and many a 
time thereafter the boys slyly placed the word 
' President ' before my name on official instruc- 
tions and packages sent to me. 

" A conductor on one of the regular trains 
quarreled one morning with the superintendent 
and was discharged. I was sent for and told 
to take out that train. This was jumping me 
over the heads of many of the older brakemen, 
and, as a consequence, all the brakemen on that 
train quit. Others were secured, however, and 
I ran the train regularly for a good many 

" Then came an accident one day, for which 
the engineer and I were jointly responsible. 
We admitted our responsibility, and were dis- 


Herbert H. Vreeland 

charged. I went again to the superintendent, 
however, and, upon a strong plea to be retained 
in the service, he sent me back to the ranks 
among the brakemen. I had no complaint to 
make, but accepted the consequence of my 

" Soon after this, the control of the road 
passed into other hands. Many were dis- 
charged, and I was daily expecting my own 
* blue envelope/ One day, I was detailed to 
act as brakeman on a special which was to con- 
vey the president and directors of the road, 
with invited guests, on a trip over the lines. 
By that time I had learned the Long Island 
Railroad in all its branches pretty well; and, 
in the course of the trip, was called upon to 
answer a great many questions. The next day 
I received word that the superintendent wanted 
to see me. My heart sank within me, for sum- 
monses of this kind were ominous in those 
days, but I duly presented myself at the office 
and was asked, ' Are you the good-looking 
brakeman who was on the special yesterday 
who shows his teeth when he smiles ? ' I mod- 
estly replied that I was certainly on the special 
yesterday, and I may possibly have partly con- 
firmed the rest of the identification by a smile, 


How They Succeeded 

for the superintendent, without further ques- 
tioning, said : * The president wants to see you, 
up stairs.' 

" I went up, and in due time was shown into 
the presence of the great man, who eyed me 
closely for a minute or two, and then asked me 
abruptly what I was doing. I told him I was 
braking Number Seventeen. He said : ' Take 
this letter to your superintendent. It contains 
a request that he relieve you from duty, and 
put somebody else in your place. After he has 
done so, come back here/ 

"All this I did, and, on my return to the 
president, he said, ' Take this letter at once to 
Admiral Peyron, of the French fleet (then ly- 
ing in the harbor on a visit of courtesy to this 
country), and this to General Hancock, on 
Governor's Island. They contain invitations 
to each to dine with me to-morrow night at 
my home in Garden City with their staffs. Get 
their answers, and, if they say yes, return at 
once to New York, charter a steamer, call for 
them to-morrow afternoon, land them at Long 
Island City, arrange for a special train from 
Long Island City to Garden City, take them 
there, r.nd return them after the banquet. I 
leave everything in your hands. Good day/ 


Herbert H. Vreeland 

" I suppose this might be considered a rather 
large job for a common brakeman, but I man- 
aged to get through with it without disgracing 
myself, and apparently to the satisfaction of all 
concerned. For some time thereafter, I was 
the president's special emissary on similar mat- 
ters connected with the general conduct of the 
business, and while I did not, perhaps, learn so 
very much about railroading proper, I was put 
in positions where I learned to take responsi- 
bility and came to have confidence in myself. 

" The control of the Long Island Railroad 
again changed hands, and I was again ' let out/ 
this time for good, so far as that particular 
road was concerned, except that, within the 
last two or three years, I have renewed my ac- 
quaintance with it through being commissioned 
by a banking syndicate in New York City to 
make an expert examination of its plant and 
equipment as a preliminary to reorganization. 

" This was in 1881, or about that time, and 
I soon secured a position as conductor on the 
New York and Northern Railroad, a little line 
running from One Hundred and Fifty-fifth 
Street, New York City, to Yonkers. Not to 
go into tedious detail regarding my experience 
there, I may say in brief that in course of time 


How They Succeeded 

I practically ' ran the road/ After some years, 
it changed hands (a thing which railways, par- 
ticularly small ones, often do, and always to the 
great discomposure of the employees), and the 
new owners, including William C. Whitney, 
Daniel S. Lamont, Captain R. Somers Hayes 
and others, went over the road one day on a 
special train to visit the property. As I have 
said, I was then practically running the road, 
owing to the fact that the man who held the 
position of general manager was not a railroad 
man and relied upon me to handle all details, 
but my actual position was only that of train- 
master. I accompanied the party, and know- 
ing the road thoroughly, not only physically 
but also statistically, was able to answer all the 
questions which they raised. This was the 
first time I had met Mr. Whitney, and I judge 
that I made a somewhat favorable impression 
upon him, for not long after I was created gen- 
eral manager of the road. 

" A few months later, I received this tele- 
gram : 


' Meet me at Broadway and Seventh Avenue office at 
two o'clock to-day. WILLIAM C. WHITNEY.* 

" I had to take a special engine to do this, 


Herbert H. Vreeland 

but arrived at two o'clock at the office of the 
Houston Street, West Street and Pavonia 
Ferry Railroad Company, which I then knew, 
in an indistinct sort of way, owned a small 
horse railway in the heart of New York. After 
finding that Mr. Whitney was out at lunch, I 
kicked my heels for a few minutes outside the 
gate, and then inquired of a man who was 
seated inside in an exceedingly comfortable 
chair, when Mr. Whitney and his party were 
expected, saying, also, that my name was Vree- 
land, and I had an appointment at two. He 
replied : ' Oh, are you Mr. Vreeland ? Well, 
here is a letter for you. Mr. Whitney expected 
to be here at two o'clock, but is a little late/ I 
took my letter and sat down again outside, 
thinking that it might possibly contain an ap- 
pointment for another hour. It was, however, 
an appointment of quite a different character. 
It read as follows : 


' DEAR SIR : At a meeting of the stockholders of the 
Houston Street, West Street and Pavonia Ferry Rail- 
road Company, held this day, you were unanimously 
elected a director of the company. 

' At a subsequent meeting of the directors, you were 
unanimously elected president and general manager, your 
duties to commence immediately. 

' Yours truly, C. E. WARREN, Secretary.' 

35 1 

How They Succeeded 

" By the time I had recovered from my sur- 
prise at learning that I was no longer a steam- 
railroad, but a street-railroad man, Mr. Whit- 
ney and other directors came in, and, after 
spending about five minutes in introductions, 
they took up their hats and left, saying, simply, 
' Well, Vreeland, you are president ; now run 
the road/ I then set out to learn what kind 
of a toy railway it was that had come into my 

Here Mr. Vreeland's narrative stops, for the 
rest of the history is well known to the people 
of New York, and to experts in street railroad- 
ing throughout the country. The " Whitney 
syndicate," so called, was then in possession of 
a few only out of some twenty or more street 
railway properties in New York City, the 
Broadway line, however, being one of these, 
and by far the most valuable. With the im- 
mense financial resources of Messrs. Whitney, 
Widener, Elkins, and their associates, nearly 
all the other properties were added to the orig- 
inal ones owned by the syndicate, and with the 
magnificent organizing and executive ability of 
Mr. Vreeland, there has been built up in New 
York a street railway system which, while in- 
cluding less than two hundred and fifty miles 

Herbert H. Vreeland 

of track, is actually carrying more than one- 
half as many passengers each year as are being 
carried by all the steam railroads of the United 
States together. 

Mr. Vreeland's first work on coming to New 
York was, naturally, to familiarize himself 
with the transportation conditions in New 
York City, and to learn how to handle the pe- 
culiarly complex problems involved in street 
railroading. He first had to gain, also, the 
confidence of his men, but this is never hard 
for anyone who is sincerely solicitous for their 
welfare, and in such sympathy with their work 
and hardships as a man like himself must have 
been, with his own past history in mind. 

With his hand firmly on the tiller, and with 
his scheme of organization perfected, he was 
soon able to take up the larger questions of ad- 
ministration. To Mr. Vreeland is due the 
credit of initiating and rapidly extending a gen- 
eral free transfer system in New York, by 
which the public is able to ride from almost 
any part of the largest city in the country to 
any other part, for a single five-cent fare, 
whereas, before the consolidation, two, three, 
and sometimes four fares would have to be 
paid for the same ride. 


How They Succeeded 

It was upon Mr. Vreeland's recommenda- 
tion, also, backed by that of F. S. Pearson, the 
well-known consulting engineer of the Whit- 
ney syndicate, that the latter determined to 
adopt the underground conduit electric system 
in the reconstruction of the lines. At that time 
this decision involved the greatest financial and 
technical courage, since there was but one other 
road of this kind in existence, and that a small 
tramway in an Austrian city, while previous 
American experience with this system had been 
uniformly unsuccessful. 

Not only in street railroading proper, but 
also in steam railroading, automobile work and 
the electric lighting field, Mr. Vreeland pos- 
sesses the absolute confidence of his associates, 
who rely implicitly upon his judgment, intelli- 
gence and business acumen. The recent gift, 
already referred to, is one only of several which 
he has received from men who feel that they 
have made millions through his ability. Al- 
though he is not to-day a wealthy man, as men 
are counted wealthy in New York City, he is 
certainly well along on the road to millionaire- 

Best of all, however, and what has probably 
satisfied him most in his life, has been the host 


Herbert H. Vreeland 

of genuine friendships which he has made, and 
the strong hold which he has upon the work- 
ingman. A strike of the employees of the 
Metropolitan Street Railway Company is ab- 
solutely impossible so long as he remains at the 
head of the company's affairs, for the men 
know well that there will be in that position a 
man who is always fair, and even generous 
with them, bearing in mind ever his duty to 
his stockholders; and they know, too, that no 
injustice will be committed by any of the de- 
partment heads. Any one of his four or five 
thousand employees can meet him personally 
on a question of grievance, and is sure of being 
treated as a reasonable fellow man. Time and 
again have labor leaders sought to form an or- 
ganization of the Metropolitan employees, and 
as often the men have said in reply, " Not while 
Vreeland is here, we know he will treat us 

In a recent address Mr. Vreeland said: 
" No artificial condition can ever, in my 
judgment, keep down a man who has health, 
capacity and honesty. You can temporarily 
interfere with him or make the road to the ob- 
ject of his ambition more difficult, but you can- 
not stop him. That tyranny is forever dead, 


How They Succeeded 

and since its death there has come a great en- 
lightenment to the possessors of power and 
wealth. Instead of preventing a man from ris- 
ing, there is not a concern the wide world over 
that is not to-day eagerly seeking for capable 
people. The great hunger of the time is for 
good men, strong men, men capable of assum- 
ing responsibility; and there is sharp competi- 
tion for those who are available." 



How James Whitcomb Riley 
Came to be Master of the 
Hoosier Dialect 

IT is doubtful if there is in the literary world, 
to-day, a personage whose boyhood and 
young manhood can approach in ro- 
mance and unusual circumstances that of the 
author of " The Old Swimmin' Hole." 

All tradition was against his accomplishing 
anything in the world. How, indeed, said the 
good folks of the little town of Greenfield, In- 
diana, could anything be expected of a boy who 
cared nothing for school, and deserted it at the 
first opportunity, to take up a wandering life. 


The boy's father wanted the boy to follow in 
his footsteps, in the legal profession, and he 
held out alluring hopes of the possibility of 


How They Succeeded 

scaling even greater heights than any to which 
he had yet attained. Better still, from the 
standpoint of the restless James, he took the 
youngster with him as he made his circuit from 
court to court. 

These excursions, for they were indeed such 
to the boy, sowed deep in his heart the seed of 
a determination to become a nomad; and it 
was not long until he started out as a strolling 
sign-painter, determined upon the realization 
of his ideals. 

Oftentimes business was worse than dull, 
and, on one occasion, hunger drove him for re- 
course to his wits, and lo, he blossomed forth 
as a " blind sign-painter," led from place to 
place by a little boy, and showered with sym- 
pathy and trade in such abundance that he 
could hardly bear the thought of the relinquish- 
ment of a pretense so ingenious and successful, 
entered on at first as a joke. 

Then came another epoch. The young man 
fell in with a patent-medicine man, with whom 
he joined fortunes, and here the young Indian- 
ian, who had been scribbling more or less 
poetry, found a new use for his talent ; for his 
duties in the partnership were to beguile the 
people with joke and song, while his co-worker 


James Whitcomb Riley 

plied the sales of his cure-all. There were many 
times when, but for his fancy, the young poet 
might have seen his audience dwindle rapidly 
away. It was while thus engaged, that he had 
the opportunities which enabled him to master 
thoroughly the Hoosier dialect. 

When the glamor of the patent-medicine 
career had faded somewhat, the nomadic Riley 
joined a band of strolling Thespians, and, in 
this brief portion of his life, after the wont of 
players of his class, played many parts. 

At length, he began to give a little more at- 
tention to his literary work; and, later, ob- 
tained a place on an Indianapolis paper, where 
he published his first poems, and they won their 
author almost instant success. 


When I drew Mr. Riley out to talk still fur- 
ther of those interesting days, and the strange 
experiences which came to him therein, the con- 
versation finally turned on the subject of his 
youthful ambition. 

" I think my earliest remembered one," he 
said, " was an insatiate longing to become a 
baker. I don't know what prompted it, unless 
it were the visions of the mountains of alluring 


How They Succeeded 

' goodies/ which, as they are ranged in the win- 
dows of the pastry shops, appear doubly tempt- 
ing to the youth whose mother not only coun- 
sels moderation, but enforces it. 

" Next, I imagined that I would like to be- 
come a showman of some sort. 

" Then, my shifting fancy conjured up vis- 
ions of how grand it would be to work as a 
painter, and decorate houses and fences in 
glowing colors. 

" Finally, as I grew a little older, there re- 
turned my old longing to become an actor. 
When, however, my dreams were realized, and 
I became a member of a traveling theatrical 
company, I found that the life was full of hard- 
ships, with very little chance of rising in the 

" I never had any literary ambition whatever, 
so far as I can remember. I wrote, primarily, 
simply because I desired to have something to 
read, and could not find selections that exactly 
suited me. Gradually I found a demand for 
my little efforts springing up; and so my 
brother, who could write legibly transcribed 


James Whitcomb Riley 


At this point I asked Mr. Riley his idea of 
the prime requisites for success in the field of 

" The most essential factor," he replied " is 
persistence, the determination never to allow 
your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by 
the discouragement that must inevitably come. 
I believe that he is richer for the battle with the 
world, in any vocation, who has great determi- 
nation and little talent, rather than his seem- 
ingly more fortunate brother with great talent, 
perhaps, but little determination. As for the 
field of literature, I cannot but express my con- 
viction that meteoric flights, such as have been 
taken, of recent years, by some young writers 
with whose names almost everybody is familiar, 
cannot fail to be detrimental, unless the man to 
whom success comes thus early and suddenly is 
an exceptionally evenly-balanced and sensible 

" Many persons have spoken to me about 
Kipling's work, and remarked how wonderful 
a thing is the fact that such achievements could 
have been possible for a man comparatively so 
young. I say, not at all. What do we find 


How They Succeeded 

when we investigate ? Simply that Kipling be- 
gan working on a newspaper when he was only 
thirteen years of age, and he has been toiling 
ever since. So you see, even that case con- 
firms my theory that every man must be ' tried 
in the fire/ as it were. 

" He may begin early or late and in some 
cases the fight is longer than in others but of 
one thing I feel sure, that there is no short-cut 
to permanent, self-satisfying success in litera- 
ture, or anything else." 


" Mr. Riley," I asked, " would you mind 
saying something about the obstacles over 
which you climbed to success ? " 

" I am afraid it would not be a very pleas- 
ant story," he replied. " A friend came to me 
once, completely heartbroken, saying that his 
manuscripts were constantly returned, and that 
he was the most miserable wretch alive. I 
asked him how long he had been trying? 
' Three years/ he said. ' My dear man/ I an- 
swered, laughing, ' go on, keep on trying till 
you have spent as many years at it as I did/ 
' As many as you did ! ' he exclaimed. ' Yes, 
as long as I did/ ' What, you struggled for 


James Whitcomb Riley 

years ! ' ' Yes, sir ; through years, through 
sleepless nights, through almost hopeless days. 
For twenty years I tried to get into one maga- 
zine; back came my manuscripts eternally. I 
kept on. In the twentieth year, that magazine 
accepted one of my articles.' 

" I was not a believer in the theory that one 
man does a thing much easier than any other 
man. Continuous, unflagging effort, persist- 
ence and determination will win. Let not the 
man be discouraged who has these." 

" What would you advise one to do with his 
constantly rejected manuscript? " I asked. 

" Put it away awhile; then remodel it. 
Young writers make the mistake I made." 

"What mistake?" I asked. 

" Hurrying a manuscript off before it was 
dry from my pen, as if the world were just 
waiting for that article and must have it. Now 
it can hardly be drawn from me with a pair of 
tweezers. Yes, lay it aside awhile. Reread. 
There is a rotten spot somewhere. Perhaps 
it is full of hackneyed phrases, or lacks in 
sparkle and originality. Search, examine, re- 
write, simplify. Make it lucid. I am glad, 
now, that my manuscripts did come back. Pres- 
ently I would discover this defect, then that. 

3 6 3 

How They Succeeded 

Perhaps three or four sleepless nights would 
show my failure to be in an unsymmetrical ar- 
rangement of the verses. 

"See these books?" he said, rapping upon 
the book case with the back of his hand. 
"Classics! but of what do they tell? Of the 
things of their own day. Let us write the 
things of our day. Literary fields exhausted! 
Nonsense. If we write well enough, ours will 
be the classics of to-morrow. Our young 
Americans have, right at hand, the richest ma- 
terial any country ever offered. Let them be 
brave and work in earnest." 


Answering other questions, the poet said : 
" A college education for the aspirant for liter- 
ary success is, of course, an advantage, pro- 
vided he does not let education foster a false 
culture that will lead him away from the ideals 
he ought to cling to. 

" There is another thing that the young man 
in any artistic pursuit must have a care for; 
and that is, to be practical. This is a practical 
world, and it is always ready to take advantage 
of this sort of people : so that one must try to 
cultivate a practical business sense as well as an 

3 6 4 

James Whitcomb Riley 

artistic sense. We have only a few men like 
Rudyard Kipling and F. Hopkinson Smith, who 
seem to combine these diverse elements of char- 
acter in just the right proportions; but I be- 
lieve that it is unfortunate for the happiness 
and peace of mind of our authors, and artists, 
and musicians, that we have not more of them." 


Riley's poetry is popular because it goes right 
to the feelings of the people. He could not 
have written as he does, but for the schooling 
of that wandering life, which gave him an in- 
sight into the struggle for existence among the 
great unnumbered multitude of his fellow men. 
He learned in his travels and journeys, in his 
hard experience as a strolling sign-painter and 
patent-medicine peddler the freemasonry of 
poverty. His poems are natural ; they are those 
of a man who feels as he writes. As Thoreau 
painted nature in the woods, and streams, and 
lakes, so Riley depicts the incidents of every- 
day life, and brightens each familiar lineament 
with that touch that makes all the world akin. 




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i2mo. Red Cloth. Decorative Cover. Gilt Top. Illustrated. Price, $1.00 

Dr. Marden has made for himself a wide reputation by his earlier volumes, 
" Architects of Fate " and " Pushing to the Front." But " Winning Out," 
while constructed along somewhat the same lines, is his first book designed 
especially for young readers. Its theme is " Character Building by Habit 

The Louisville Courier Journal says : " Pleasant teaching Dr. Mar- 
den's anecdotes make. They are of men and things that have actually been 
and happened. The moral is often an epigram, always apropos. Through 
the pages of the small volume pass a procession of figures that have aspired, 
struggled, and achieved. Such work is good for the world, good for the 
youth in it, and for more experienced and serious middle age." 

Lothrop Publishing Company - - Boston 

Defending The Bank 


Author of " With Sword and Crucifix," etc. Four 
illustrations by I. B. Hazelton. i2mo. Pictorial 
cover in color. Price, $1.25. 

" Defending the Bank," by Edward S. Van Zile, is a 
most amusing and interesting detective story for boys 
and girls, in which a couple of bright boys and girls ap- 
point themselves amateur detectives and are able to run 
down a couple of bank robbers who are planning to rob 
the bank of which the lather of one of the boys is presi- 
dent. This is at once an exciting and wholesome tale, 
of which the scene is laid in Troy, N. Y., the former 
home of the author. It will be widely welcomed. 

The Mutineers 


Author of 'The Substitute Quarterback." i2mo. 
Four illustrations by I. B. Hazelton. Pictorial 
cover in color. Price, $1.25. 

" The Mutineers " is a rattling boys' story by Mr. 
Eustace L. Williams of the Louisville Courier-Journal. 
It gives a picture of life in a large boarding-school, where 
a certain set of boys control the athletics, and shows 
how their unjust power was broken by the hero of the 
tale, who forms a rival baseball nine and manages to de- 
feat his opponents, thus bringing a better state of things 
in the school socially and as to sports. The story is full 
of lively action, and deals with baseball and general 
athletic interests in a large school in a manner which 
shows that the author is thoroughly acquainted with 
and sympathetic to his subject. 


RETURN TO the circulation desk of any 
University of California Library 

or to the 

Bldg. 400, Richmond Field Station 
University of California 
Richmond, CA 94804-4698 


2-month loans may be renewed by calling 

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days prior to due date. 



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